Career Network for student Scientists and Postdocs at Yale

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Category: Blog Posts (page 2 of 8)

Swap Your CV!

This week’s blog comes to us from guest blogger Laurel Lorenz. Previously, she shared her experience with unexpected opportunities for networking. This week, she shares another low-key tip on how to increase your network and improve your CV. Here’s Laurel…


As we all know, networking is critical for getting jobs, and yet some would say that it is in poor taste to network with someone just to get a job. So how is it possible to connect with someone in a way that feels comfortable and natural, and simultaneously fulfills the purpose of increasing your job prospects?

One simple approach is to peer-network by asking someone to swap curriculum vitaes, or CVs. In the swap, you each share your CV and offer feedback to enhance each other’s CV. This creates a mutually beneficial situation in which each of you can find ways to improve your CV and learn about new opportunities. In addition, as more people are aware of your unique set of qualifications, the more likely you are to connect with the right organization.


Exchange CVs

Although exchanging CVs is a great way to help you network, how do you initiate the CV swap? To inspire you to ask, we offer several examples:


One-on-one Peer Exchange

To connect with a colleague, ask, “Hi Penelope, I’m revising my CV and am curious if we can each get new ideas by exchanging CVs. Would you mind swapping CVs?” An added bonus is that by reciprocally offering to review their CV, you strengthen the relationship with your colleague.


Group Peer Exchange

Alternatively, you could lead your lab-mates in a multi-person CV exchange. Again, let your co-workers know that you’re looking for ways to improve your CV and would like to have everyone share their CVs with each other. You can also include lab alumni in the exchange and see how their similar experiences led to their current position. In this strategy, you’re building reciprocal relationships within your existing network and extending your network.


Professional Exchange

A third example is to send a cold email, something like, “Hi Person with My Dream Career! You’re a top person in your field and my goal is to have a similar career as you. What experiences best helped you to get to your current position? Would you mind sharing your CV with me so that I can learn how to develop a similar career?” In this strategy, you’re expanding your network by asking a new contact to engage in a dialogue to share how they became successful.


Keep in mind, most people want to help you. It is likely that they received similar help in obtaining their current position and are looking for ways to pay it forward. Take advantage of this generosity!


Improve your CV

Once you exchange CVs with your colleague (and thank them!), engage in a dialogue to see how yours could be revised. Remember, it’s better to receive and respond to criticism from within your network than to be rejected by a hiring committee.

In return, read their CV and offer thoughtful suggestions to them as well. While reading through their CV, you can also use the opportunity to identify techniques that you can adapt to make yours more effective.

What is it that makes your colleague’s CV stand out?

Do they include an accomplishment that you have, but present it in a more impressive way?

How did your friend translate the soft skills from their graduate school and postdoctoral training into tangible items on their CV?

How do they organize their experiences?

Do they have an attractive graphic design?

After evaluating these elements, you can improve your CV by mirroring these elements in your own CV.


Expand your network and opportunities

By engaging in a CV swap, not only can you re-frame your previous experiences, but you can also learn of ways to expand your skills and network. If your exchange partner’s CV includes a unique experience, you can find new ways to engage with a similar opportunity.

For example, when I swapped CVs with my friend, I was particularly interested in finding opportunities to engage in science communication. After reviewing my friend’s CV, I became aware of opportunities to write for the CNSPY Blog, join Yale Science Diplomacy and Greater New Haven Toastmasters, and volunteer at the New Haven Science Fair.

All of these organizations have offered excellent networking opportunities.

When you ask to swap CVs with someone, there is no limit to how you can improve your CV and how widely you can expand your network. Ask to swap CVs with as many people as you can think of! The more people that you ask, the more likely that you will be able to network and make new opportunities for yourself.


** Ask a friend to swap CVs and let us know what opportunities and ideas it leads you to!**

Share your thoughts below by clicking the “Leave a Reply” link or by clicking the chat bubble in the top right of the post.

How to Write an Effective Summary Statement

In this week’s blog, guest blogger Kristen Murfin continues her discussion of the importance of tailoring your resume to specific companies and job postings. Here, she focuses on how to formulate a strong summary statement to impress hiring managers. Here’s Kristen…


In our previous blog, we discussed the importance of tailoring your resume to increase your chances of being noticed by the hiring manager. Another way to improve the visibility of your resume is to start with a strong summary statement. This is different than an objective statement that mostly states what kind of job you are looking for. A good summary statement should be 2-3 concise, focused sentences that show that you would be a valuable employee. You also want it to be unique to you and the job you are applying for. Here are a few tips for writing a strong summary statement:


1. Make a list of your expertise, achievements, or characteristics you want to highlight


Expertise and qualifications:

Similar to tailoring your resume, the summary statement for your resume should highlight features that are relevant to the specific job position and the company you are applying to. Look through the job posting and similar positions at the company for key words and phrases, necessary qualifications, and required skills. You can also look at the LinkedIn profiles of people with similar positions at the company for these items. Compare this list of skills to your resume. What matches?



Now assess which of your achievements demonstrate that you have the necessary skills for the position. These can be things like: secured funding and budgeted for a research project, publication of articles, effectively managed research group, increased productivity, etc. If you can concretely state utilization of your skills with a good result, this will be stronger than stating you possess a skill.



It is also important to consider the company culture of where you’re applying and what soft skills you have that might be valuable. Most companies have a mission statement or informational section on their website that you can pull from. Additionally, talking to someone currently at the company can give you a good feel for the company culture. Other soft skills might be listed in the job posting, such as organization and management abilities, oral and written communication, team player and collaborative, or time management.


**A note for those switching career tracks:

You likely will not have exactly the same experience as that listed in the job posting. You should focus on transferable skills you have that are similar. For example, the job posting might state “experience presenting to board members” or “written progress reports”. As a PhD, you have a lot of communication experience that you can highlight (all those papers and oral presentations!) even though the context of your communications experience is different.


2. Decide which characteristics from the list you want to use

After assessing your skills, you will likely have a very long list of things that you could include. You will need to parse this down to about 4-6 key points to write up. A lot of this editing will be based on what you think is most important and how you want to represent yourself to the hiring manager. Here are some questions you can ask to help you through the editing process:


  • What skills or characteristics seem to be most important on the job posting?
  • What skills, achievements or characteristics seem to be repeated the most in your list? Can they be combined?
  • What skills or activities do you most like to do?
  • What are you most passionate about?
  • What achievements are you most proud of?
  • What are your most impactful skills or contributions?
  • What is most unique and might set you apart from other applicants?


Ideally, after editing you should have 4-6 points that fit many of the above questions.


3. Write your statement!

Now the writing part. Here are a few tips to help with wording and make your statement more impactful:


  • Include a descriptive job title and experience level
  • Don’t use I or me. Instead, phrase the statement as descriptive comments or declarative sentences
  • Don’t use passive voice
  • Use action verbs
  • Use key words or phrases you identified in the job posting
  • Use unique and informative adjectives and wording. You don’t want to sound generic
  • Make your statement focused on what you can offer the company


Here are some example statements:



Efficient researcher with laboratory management experience and PhD training at Yale University. Offers technical expertise in bacteriology and immunology research techniques as well as thoughtful mentorship.


Grants administrator

Current postdoctoral researcher that can leverage experience grant writing, budgeting, and coordinating complex projects. 10 years of scientific experience with deep knowledge of medical research and global public health. Adept at scientific communication and collaborative development of projects.


Scientific Writer

Versatile scientific writer with over 8 years of writing experience in a variety of publications, including scientific journals, blogs, and university websites. Able to provide quality, customized materials on short deadlines.


Medical Science Liaison

PhD level researcher with technical knowledge of immunofluorescent imaging and excellent interpersonal skills. Wide array of teaching and speaking experience, including individual training, group lecturing, and written instruction. Proven capabilities in the application of immunofluorescent technologies and trouble shooting.


4. Edit and edit some more

Be sure to thoroughly edit your statement for clarity, ease of reading, and typos. It is always a good idea to send it to a friend (or multiple friends) to get input!


**Write your own summary statement and let us know your results**




  1. How to Write a Resume Summary Section That Gets Interviews!
  2. How To Write An Amazing Resume Summary Statement (Examples Included)
  3. The Art of Writing a Great Resume Summary Statement
  4. The Resume Summary Statement: When You Need One and How to Do It
  5. Resume Objective or Summary: You need One, but Which?
  6. The 10 Most Overused LinkedIn Buzzwords of the Year

How to Tailor Your Resume

This week’s blog is written by guest blogger and new member of the CNSPY Communications Team, Kristen Murfin. She shares some useful advice on how to tailor your resume to fit the job you really want. Here’s Kristen…


Did you know that a recruiter spends an average of just 6 seconds assessing your resume? A study by Ladders used eye tracking software to assess the length of time recruiters looked at resumes and what they looked at. The researchers found that in those 6 seconds, recruiters spent 80% of the time looking at the name, current title and company, previous title and company, start and end dates, and education. The remaining 20% was spent skimming (not reading!) the resume for key words and phrases that were consistent with the job posting. Most of this skimming was towards the top of the first page.

So what does this mean for the job seeker? First, your resume must be brief, easy to read, and it should be easy to find the relevant sections. Second, the most relevant and exciting material should be near the top of the first page. Third, tailoring your resume for a specific job posting will increase your chances of making it past the 6-second filter (as well as any automated filtering systems). Here are a few quick tips for how to tailor your resume:


1. Start by writing an in-depth, results-driven resume that encompasses EVERYTHING

Don’t worry if you write a three-page monster list. This is just the starting point. If you want advice on how to write your sections, check out previous CNSPY blogs here and here.


2. Research the position you are applying for

Now, do a little research (taking notes will be very helpful!). Ultimately, you want to come up with a list of skills and experiences that you can highlight on your resume. Start by reading the job description and identifying the qualifications and skills listed. You can also look at similar job postings at the same company, LinkedIn profiles of people who currently have the same job title, and job descriptions at the same or similar companies. While you are making your list take note of the key words or phrases that come up multiple times, especially in the job posting.


3. Cross-reference your list of skills with your resume

Assess which skills you have that fit the list and which ones don’t. For experiences that do fit, tweak the wording to match the key words and phrases used in the job posting. However, don’t exaggerate your accomplishments. Cut or minimize experiences that don’t directly address skills relevant to the job. You shouldn’t cut employment history that will leave a gap in your resume, but you may minimize the space given to the position (remember that space in your resume is really limited). You can also consider splitting your resume into two broad categories, “Relevant Experience” and “Additional Experience”. Here is an example modifying a graduate school experience for a project lead position at a biotech company:



Graduate Student Researcher                         Year XXXX-XXXX

  • Studied the role of Y protein in Z cancer for the development of novel therapeutics targeting Y
  • 6 peer-reviewed articles, 1 patent, and 18 presentations
  • 3 fellowships, 1 NIH grant
  • Mentored 4 undergraduate researchers
  • Facilitated collaborations
  • Teaching 2 semesters of Introduction to Molecular Biology
  • Volunteered as a student host for recruitment
  • Technical expertise in cell culture, molecular biology techniques, mouse husbandry, and protein analyses



Graduate Research Fellow                              Year XXXX-XXXX

  • Lead an investigation developing novel therapeutics for Z cancer, which resulted in 6 publications, 1 patent, and 18 presentations
  • Project management for facilitating collaborations between 3 laboratories and training 4 undergraduate research students
  • Secured and budgeted research funds, including 3 fellowships and 1 NIH grant


This modification is successful because it highlights leadership, management, and communication skills that are likely listed as necessary for the position. It also rewords the experience to be concise and results driven. Also note that the technical skills are removed. If the job posting doesn’t list technical skills or just gives a general area of research that is preferred, don’t provide an exhaustive list of all the assays you can perform. Stating that you have research experience in a general area is very likely enough. However, if specific technical qualifications are listed as required or preferred, you should definitely include them!


Another way to highlight your most relevant skills is to create a summary section (often called a “Qualifications Summary”) at the top of your resume. This section should distill your top 2-3 skills that demonstrate why you are the best choice. Think about: What values and key strengths do I bring? What are my top selling points? Which of these line up with the job posting? If the posting mentions a degree requirement, you can consider including that in your statement as well. An example from the same resume might be:

Medical molecular biologist with XX years of research experience and XX years of project management experience. Successful completion of a PhD from Yale University. Proven skills in management, budgeting, scientific communication, and research techniques.

This statement again highlights the leadership and management skills likely listed in the job posting. Look for more information on writing your qualifications summary in the next blog post!


4. Research the company you are applying to

In addition to the job posting, you should also research the company itself to get an idea of the corporate culture. You can also ask for an informational interview with people currently at the company to gain insight. Not only is this great information for a future interview, you can incorporate phrasing and key words about company culture into your resume. This will allow recruiters to see that you might be a good “fit” with the current team. For example, a company might be team-oriented and collaborative or fast-paced and deadline driven. You could word your experiences slightly differently based on this knowledge:



Lead an investigation developing novel therapeutics for Z cancer, which resulted in 6 publications, 1 patent, and 18 presentations


Company 1:

Lead a collaborative research team in investigating novel therapeutics for Z cancer, which resulted in 6 publications, 1 patent, and 18 presentations


Company 2:

Lead a fast-paced project for the development of novel therapeutics for Z cancer, which resulted in 6 publications, 1 patent, and 18 presentations


Be sure that modifying your wording doesn’t incorrectly represent your experience.


Remember that the point of tailoring your resume is to make yourself the ideal candidate for a particular job posting at a specific company. So, don’t use the same tailored resume for different postings. Revamp and rework your resume for each application!


**Tailor your resume and share your experience with us**


Share your thoughts below by clicking the “Leave a Reply” link or by clicking the chat bubble in the top right of the post.



  1. Optimize Your Resume if You Want to Get the Job
  2. Resume Optimization Without Dishonesty: Keeping it Real
  3. What it Really Means to “Tailor Your Resume”
  4. How to Tailor Your Resume and Gain More Job Interviews
  5. How to Tailor Your Resume for an Employer


Leave Them Wanting More

To the CNSPY Community,

This is a bittersweet moment, as I announce that this will be my last post here on the CNSPY Blog. I created the blog two years ago to offer advice and insight to others looking to improve their networking skills and expand their professional networks. I hope that it has been helpful to you in your journeys to find your next career steps, and as this post discusses, I hope that I have succeeded in “Leaving you wanting more!” It has been an absolute pleasure serving you, and I am happy to pass on the reigns to the new Director of Communications and CNSPY Blogger, Lydia Hoffstaetter, who will be bringing you further insights and advice going forward.            

~Victoria Schulman


Have you ever found yourself in a conversation that seemed to die off, leaving everyone awkwardly staring at one another trying to figure out what to do or say next? With long awkward pauses, everyone desperately looks for a way out that won’t be viewed as impolite. These situations are networking nightmares because all the other person wants to do is get away from you (quickly!), which is the exact opposite of what you want to accomplish at the networking event.

If someone is desperately trying to get away from you at a networking event, they probably won’t want to talk to you via email afterwards either. In fact, they’re probably hoping that they can just get away from you and never have to worry about interacting with you again because the initial meeting was so uncomfortable.

This is clearly the opposite of what you want to accomplish at a networking event.

In contrast, we want the other person to leave wanting more. We want them to wish they had more time to talk to us so that they could learn more about us and/or our work. If they feel as though they didn’t quite get a chance to finish the conversation or ask all of their questions, they will be more inclined to engage in email correspondence with us later.

So we need to leave them always wanting more. How do we do that?

One way to accomplish this task is to only briefly mention certain topics in your discussion. Of course, be sure to give enough detail to explain your points and/or projects to get them interested, but there’s no need to divulge ALL the details.

For example, if someone is interested in learning about a technique you’re using, give enough detail to explain the premise and the concept of the protocol, but leave out the nitty gritty details and offer to send them your typed up protocol later. This keeps them interested for the time being and encourages them to seek you out for further information later.

Similarly, if you’ve taken on an extracurricular project – let’s say you’ve started a blog – you can, and should, voluntarily mention this side project in your conversation, directing people to the blog’s website if they want to read more. By giving them a brief description of the point of your blog – maybe it’s a blog about emerging trends in biotechnology within the context of financial gain – you give them enough information to get interested in looking it up without spilling all the details. Then later, after they look at the blog, and assuming they liked what they saw, they will more than likely contact you. (Alternatively, after the conversation at the networking event, you can reach out to them to provide them with a direct link, making it easier for them to find and view your content.)

After these strategically planned conversations, you’re sure to receive follow-up emails from those individuals later wherein you can continue your conversation and potentially shift the dialogue, turning this new connection into a potential job lead for you – because, as we’ve pointed out before, if you give value to someone first, they are more willing to help you in return.

Another way to leave them wanting more is to merely end the conversation somewhat prematurely. Not abruptly, but prematurely – there is a difference.

If you can’t find a way to steer the conversation towards something that allows you to leave out a few crucial details that the other person wants or needs, you can always leave a little be desired by not overstaying your welcome.

Let’s say you’ve introduced yourself and briefly spoken about your work, background, and goals going forward, as has the person with whom you’re speaking. After a few additional minutes, you can sense that the conversation might be heading towards one of those awkward pauses where neither party knows what to do and the desperate need to get away quickly starts to creep up. If this happens, you need to abort the conversation – fast!

You can do this by politely excusing yourself. For example, say, “Well, it was a pleasure meeting you, but if you’ll excuse me, I need to use the ladies room. I’ll definitely be in touch with you later though about that XYZ program though!”

This is a perfectly acceptable reason to leave a conversation, and it doesn’t leave the other person thinking ill of you – who can argue with basic biological needs? You’ve provided a natural ending to the conversation, giving permission to all involved to go off and strike up new conversations with no hard feelings in either direction.

Importantly though, when you give excuses like this, you need to do so confidently. Don’t sound apologetic in your comment – this just perpetuates the awkwardness. Instead, just state quite matter-of-factly with a smile on your face that it was indeed nice to meet them but you must be moving along, however, you’ll be in touch later to follow-up on XYZ that they mentioned.

It is much better to abandon a conversation that isn’t going well than to hang around and overstay your welcome, which invites long awkward pauses into the mix, leaving everyone desperately trying to find ways to leave the conversation. If, instead, you proactively and confidently end the conversation a little short of what you were hoping for, this avoids those awkward moments and gives you a second chance to continue the conversation later over email, where the dialogue is hopefully less difficult to carry on.

These types of techniques can be employed in a number of different scenarios, too. For example, if you are giving a seminar, leave out a few details and invite interested parties to come find you afterwards. Alternatively, if you are trying to encourage participation in a program or event you’re hosting, provide enough information up front to garner interest, but leave out the details about the highlights or featured presentation to entice would-be participants to attend your function.

There are many situations in which leaving a little to be desired is a beneficial tactic. Thus, we should use this strategy more in our professional lives because if you leave people wanting more from you, you will never be short on networking connections and career opportunities. So don’t play all your cards at once and don’t overstay your welcome. Hold a little bit back to encourage further conversation later.


** Leave them wanting more at the next event you attend and let us know how it goes! **

Share your thoughts below by clicking the “Leave a Reply” link or by clicking the chat bubble in the top right of the post.

Common Cover Letter Phrases to Avoid

So, you’ve written your cover letter… you’ve customized it for the company and position you’re seeking, you’ve opened and closed strongly, and you’ve stated your case. You’re ready to submit your application, but before you do, go back through your cover letter one more time and eliminate these commonly used phrases because they can kill even the strongest of cover letters.


1) “I think I’d be a great fit.”

Opinion phrases can inadvertently cast doubt on what you’re saying. You “think” you’d be a great fit? Why don’t you know you’d be a great fit? Would other people disagree with you and think you wouldn’t be great fit? Why do you only think you’d be a good fit? You don’t want to leave these thoughts in the hiring manager’s mind.

These types of opinion phrases can make you sound insecure. Sure, you may have simply been trying to avoid sounding too cocky, but instead, you’ve undermined your own abilities. Don’t use opinion phrases. Period. And keep in mind that sentences such as “I’m confident I’d be a good fit” are also opinion phrases that can cause similar problems.

Instead, drop the opinion part of the sentence and just state your position because if you’re saying it, it’s obviously your opinion. You don’t need to clarify that it’s your opinion. Moreover, simply stating, “I’d be a great fit,” is far more convincing than the same message with “I think” or “I’m confident” in front of it. It’s also shorter and gets right to the point.


2) “Good”

Cover letters often highlight our best qualities, but if everything is just “good” – i.e., “I’m a good writer,” “I have good project management skills,” “I’m good at working with other people” – we actually sound rather average.

There are so many more exciting adjectives that we could use that will really make us sound spectacular. For example: “I’m an accomplished writer,” “I have expert project management skills,” and “I’m efficient and experienced at working with other people.” These small word choice changes make these phrases take on a whole different connotation. Clearly the person being described in this paragraph is much more qualified than the one described in the first paragraph.

Here’s a list of many other words that you can substitute for the word “good” that will help you shine throughout your cover letter:

Skilled, talented, experience, accomplished, expert, successful, apt, seasoned, thorough, capable, competent, efficient, etc.

Use any one of these (and more) words to replace “good” and see how quickly your cover letter improves.


3) “This position would help me because…”

Sometimes we may feel inclined to describe how a position fits well with us and our goals in efforts to explain why we’re applying for the job. Thus, it may seem fitting to describe how a certain job would help you further develop your leadership skills, for example. However, the hiring manager truly does not care how this job can help you. He is primarily concerned with how you will help him and the company. That’s it.

So instead of trying to use these types of arguments to explain why you’re applying for the job, use a different tactic. Simply describe your abilities in the context of the company’s needs and then detail how, together, you two can achieve the company’s desired results and goals. You can fix their problems and address their needs – THAT is why you are applying for the job.


4) “As you can see on my resume…”

If the hiring manager can see it on your resume, you don’t need to highlight its presence there. They can see it for themselves.

Similar to point #1, this is a phrase that could indicate some insecurity on your part. If you have the experience, it should be blatantly obvious on your resume; thus, you shouldn’t have to point it out.

So instead of saying, “As you can see on my resume, I’ve been working in medical communications for the last three years; thus, I will be an asset to the marketing department of XYZ pharmaceutical company,” drop the first part, and just say, “I’ve been working in medical communications for the last three years; thus, I will be an asset to the marketing department of XYZ pharmaceutical company.” This is a more direct statement that is not only stronger, but also projects unwavering confidence.


5) “I’m the best candidate because…”

Speaking of confidence… confidence in a cover letter is great, but there is a fine line between confident and cocky. If you are overly confident, you will merely appear arrogant.

You may believe you are the “best” candidate, but without reading ALL of the applications yourself, you really can’t be completely sure that you are indeed THE best candidate for the position. And imagine if you were the hiring manager and you read 10 cover letters in a row, all of which stated that they were either “the best candidate,” “the ideal candidate,” or “the perfect candidate.” That would get pretty annoying rather quickly and you’d probably dismiss all of them.

Instead, remain confident without crossing the line into arrogance and cockiness by using any of these words:

Excellent, great, terrific, strong, outstanding, unique, etc.

Conveying the idea that you would be “a strong candidate” for the position is much more accurate, demonstrates your confidence, and doesn’t overstate your abilities.


Eliminating these five common phrases from your cover letter will instantly make your letter sound stronger, and, in turn, your letter will be much more effective.

Your cover letter is your first opportunity to impress the hiring manager. Don’t unintentionally doubt your own abilities, make yourself sound average, or frustrate the hiring manager in the process. You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and with cover letters, that first impression comes across in your word choice, so make sure you choose words and phrases that make you shine!


** Review your cover letter(s) for these mistakes, correct them, and let us know how it goes! **

Share your thoughts below by clicking the “Leave a Reply” link or by clicking the chat bubble in the top right of the post.

Your Resting Face Affects Your Image

Think about the last time you gave a presentation. When you looked out at the audience, what did you see? In most cases, you probably saw a lot of seemingly unhappy faces, which can be very unsettling to you as the speaker.

However, it’s highly likely that those scowls and furrowed brows are not portraying anger; those people are just deep in thought about what you’re saying. And those frowns are not necessarily unhappy or upset people; they might simply be in awe or surprised by something you’ve said and they’re trying to make sense of this new found knowledge in the context of their own work (perhaps it even overturns their hypotheses and they are mentally scrambling to make sense of it for their own project’s sake). Finally, those blanks stares don’t always imply boredom or confusion; those people are probably following along just perfectly and understanding everything you’re saying.

The point is that these negative facial expressions are not always associated with negative thoughts. However, from your perspective, given the lack of positive facial expressions in the audience, you might feel as though you are not being received well at all. But maybe these individuals simply have a less-than-happy-looking resting face. That’s not your fault, and it has nothing to do with you. In fact, you and your presentation might be knocking it out of the park! However, the fact remains that wouldn’t be able to know that based on the body language feedback you’re receiving.

Now, turn the tables.

Have you ever thought about what your resting face and your facial expressions convey about you? If you are genuinely interested in a topic, does it show? Or do you appear as though you are angry or bored?

In a large setting, such as a seminar or lecture, it is less of an issue if you seem angry or bored from outward appearances because you are one person in a massive sea of faces. The odds of the speaker taking YOUR facial expressions personally are very small.

However, in a small setting, for example a one-on-one conversation at a networking event, unpleasant resting faces can leave your potential network connection with a sour opinion of you, which is obviously not good.

How do we fix this? We ensure that our resting face conveys positive energy by taking notes and adopting strategies from an unlikely source… news anchors and talk-show hosts.

Have you ever noticed how news anchors and talk-show hosts always look thrilled to meet their guests on set and interview them? But they do so without being overly obnoxious and enthusiastic? It’s not like they have giant ear-to-ear smiles plastered on their faces and are exploding with energy. What they exude is a more contained positive energy that makes the guest feel welcome.

Considering that they are merely the host of the show, they probably aren’t as thrilled as they seem to be to meet every single person who comes on the show. By nature, they have to entertain a variety of personalities to cater to the broader viewer audience, so it’s unlikely that they are actually as thrilled as they seem to be to meet everyone they host on the show. Yet, as a viewer, you wouldn’t have a clue that they weren’t actually interested in a particular guest. What is it they makes us believe otherwise?

Connie Dieken, a successful news show host who has branched out and created her own speaking engagement brand, shares her trademarked move that she claims has led to all of her successes both on and off the screen.

The Magic Move, as she has coined it, is simple. She instructs her mentees to put their index fingers at the corners of their lips and lift up slightly. Then she tells them to move their fingers away but to maintain this lip stance using only the muscles in your face. The result is a tiny hint of smile.

Additionally, because these little muscles, known as the levator labii muscles, connect the corners of your mouth to your eyes, activating these muscles simultaneously makes your eyes look more attentive and engaged – they “sparkle” as Connie puts it.

Obviously, the tiniest of smiles and a hint of an attentive sparkle in your eyes will be received much more positively than an inadvertent frown and a blank stare.

This is the ideal resting face you should strive for, especially in one-on-one networking conversations. Keep in mind that everyone loves themselves, and they love talking about themselves and having other people be interested in what they’re saying. If you look bored or uninterested in what they are saying, they will lose interest in you. So make sure your facial expressions convey a sense of excitement and genuine interest when you’re speaking with potential network connections.

Although it may seem like a bit of work to adjust your resting face, it is definitely worth it, and it really doesn’t require that much effort at all. Unfortunately, despite your true thoughts and feelings, your facial expressions can, and often do, convey a completely different message. And you don’t want to send the wrong message to someone you’re meeting for the first time because you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

So take heed to Connie’s advice and adjust your resting face because it most certainly affects your image. To see her “Magic Move” in action for yourself, pay attention to the host on the next talk-show you watch and look for this technique. Notice how the host either does or doesn’t have a slight smile while listening to their guests, and take note of how they come across given their facial expressions.

After seeing firsthand how this can drastically change your view of the talk-show host, realize that the same habits will either negatively or positively affect your image as well. Then, to ensure that you always give off positive vibes, try her technique in the mirror and see the difference for yourself. Finally, apply this technique to your next networking event and see how it influences other people’s interactions with you. I’ll bet they’ll improve and lead to some great opportunities for you!


** Adjust your resting face to project a positive image and let us know how it goes! **

Share your thoughts below by clicking the “Leave a Reply” link or by clicking the chat bubble in the top right of the post.

LinkedIn: The Basics – Part 3

This week we’re closing out our Summer Spotlight Series with Post #4 from guest blogger, Tenaya Vallery, CNSPY Executive Board Member and former CNSPY President. Here, she takes what she’s shared in her previous posts to a new level to help you start connecting on LinkedIn. Here’s Tenaya…


In a series of four posts, we are delving into LinkedIn and discussing its advantages for science PhDs. In my two last posts, I focused on the LinkedIn profile. Now it’s time to connect! In this post, I will discuss creating and strengthening your LinkedIn network. Along the way, I will share examples and tips.


Your LinkedIn Network



There are two schools of thought on LinkedIn networks:

  • Open to All – connect to as many people as possible, even if you don’t know them
  • A Close One – connect only to people you know and whose emails you would answer.

Personally, I prefer the latter option and dabble with the former.

Ninety-five percent of my network consists of people that I actually know. If I saw their name in my inbox or in my LinkedIn mail, I would open their message and vice versa. My reason is that if another connection asked me to introduce them to one of my other connections, then I want to be able to say, “yes, I could introduce you to that person,” rather than, “sorry friend, I don’t really know that person.”

The counter argument is that you never know. A random connection might lead to a job opportunity. Plus having a large network (500+) on LinkedIn marks you as a LinkedIn Pro. Lastly, you can always develop that initial connection into a deeper one at a later time. Recruiters, for example, tend to follow the ‘open to all’ option, but that comes with their job description.

The type of network you have is a personal choice and you will need to see which one fits your style. Regardless, I will share my strategies for turning a cold contact into a true connection.


Cold LinkedIn Invites 

Cold networking is very difficult. Vickie, the CNSPY blogger, wrote a post on this subject. The take-home message is the same for LinkedIn.

Personalize your LinkedIn invite!

You have a 300-character limit. I restrict my message to reminding them when we met and suggesting a specific collaboration for the future, such as hosting them at Yale for a CNSPY event. Alternatively, I ask them a question about something they said. The idea is to get to know the other person and so that they remember you. You want an honest exchange of information and/or resources, a give and take.

Practicing Cold Emails. CNSPY is a great platform to practice cold networking. Other executive board members and I help new members draft their cold emails and coach them on how to approach face-to-face interactions. I myself had the same help from Thihan, one of CNSPY’s founders, when I first started, and we continue this tradition today. Moreover, there are many other organizations on campus that will offer the same opportunity for skill development and provide a platform of giving. But if you are interested in CNSPY, apply to be a project manager. We are always looking to diversify our leadership team.


Receiving a Cold LinkedIn Invite

Every now and then, I receive a LinkedIn invite from someone I do not recognize. After a while of feeling awkward and not knowing what to do, I developed a strategy and have had some fulfilling experiences as a result.

Is this person someone you want to connect with? First, I look at their LinkedIn profile to assess if s/he is a troll or a real person. I familiarize myself with their basic information and jot down particular experiences that I would like to learn more about. Then I respond to their cold invite with:


This approach opens up an opportunity for a cold contact to become a true connection. For me, this strategy works one out of five times. Cold networking is difficult, but it can be incredibly rewarding.


My Success Story with Cold Networking via LinkedIn

In Fall 2015, I received a cold LinkedIn invite. I followed my strategy by first looking at her profile. She was a founder of a company that connects academic scientists with programmers. The academic scientists receive assistance on program development to answer unique academic questions, while the programmers are challenged to develop new algorithms and gain experience on different problems. Her idea was not only innovative but also useful for the Yale community.

Being proactive, I responded using my above strategy. We exchanged a few emails and had a phone call to discuss her Ph.D. experience, her career after graduate school, and her company. From our conversations, I knew that other Yale science trainees would benefit from her insights and experiences.

So I invited her to CNSPY’s Annual Networking Event (ANE). She said yes and then offered to lead a seminar on networking strategies, Networking 101, before the ANE, to help our members.

Cold LinkedIn networking can lead to great opportunities for not only a deeper connection for you, but for others, too. You should be open to cold networking and to strengthening cold contacts into deeper connections.


LinkedIn InMail

This tip comes from Vickie, the CNSPY blogger. 

LinkedIn recently changed its mailing feature. A few years ago, you could send a message to anyone. But now, you must buy into their Premium service to send a message to anyone who is not a first-degree connection.

With a free account, you can only send messages to your first-degree connections and 300-character invites to everyone else.

To counter this limitation, people have been providing their email and contact information directly on their website/profile.

Here is Vickie, explaining this issue more:

“If you aren’t already friends with someone (or linked with someone), you can’t send them a message or use the InMail service. Recruiters (or anyone for that matter) have to pay for a premium LinkedIn account in order to send InMail to someone they don’t already know. So sometimes, recruiters will go for the low-hanging fruit – someone who willingly gives away their contact info on their profile, even if that person may not be the best candidate in order to save their company some money.”

In essence, LinkedIn is moving toward more buy-in options to market their Premium service. One way to circumvent the inability to send messages through LinkedIn and their character limits is to provide your email address directly on your profile, for example, at the end of your summary section.


Strengthening and Staying Current with Your Network

LinkedIn is a great platform for strengthening and staying current with your network. It offers a few services to help you do this:

  • Notifications on profile changes in your news feed.
  • Daily suggestions on how to stay connected with your network such as, “Jon Doe has a new job. Do you want to say congrats?” These suggestions appear in the right column of your home page.
  • Returning endorsements. When someone endorses you, LinkedIn automatically prompts you to do the same for others in your network.
  • Emails about what’s going on in your network.
  • Suggestions of people you may know.

These features and more are incredibly helpful ways to stay up-to-date with your network and to strengthen it.


In closing, LinkedIn is a dynamic resource for networking and maintaining a healthy, strong network. I wish you the best with your LinkedIn experience and hope that my tips and insights have helped you in some way! Please send me an email or link with me on LinkedIn to let me know specifically. I welcome all feedback.


Summer Spotlight Series:

  • LinkedIn vs. Research Gate
  • Basics Part I: Editing, profile picture, and professional headline
  • Basics Part II: Experience section – media, recommendations, endorsements, and publications
  • Basics Part III: Invites and InMail


** Once you have updated and maximized your profile, start connecting using the tips discussed above and let us know how it goes! **

Share your thoughts below by clicking the “Leave a Reply” link or by clicking the chat bubble in the top right of the post.

LinkedIn: The Basics – Part 2

This week we’re highlighting Post #3 of the 2016 CNSPY Summer Spotlight Series. Here, guest blogger, Tenaya Vallery, CNSPY Executive Board Member and former CNSPY President, expands on her previous posts on how to improve your LinkedIn profile. In this post, she specifically discusses the Experience section and how to make your profile stand out. Here’s Tenaya…


LinkedIn! In a series of four posts, we are delving into LinkedIn and discussing its advantages for science PhDs. In my last post, I discussed the profile picture and the professional headline. In this post, I will address the meat of your LinkedIn profile, the experience section and skills & endorsements. Along the way, I will share examples and tips. Here we go!

Reminder: Turn off the notifications when you edit these sections. Learn more here.


Entries of Experiences

The first version of my LinkedIn profile consisted of information copied and pasted from my CV. This is a good first step. With each iteration of my LinkedIn profile, I find better strategies to convey information and will share those throughout this post. But the CV strategy is a good start. To make an entry, each experience must be added individually.

  1. At the top of the experience section, you will see a ‘+ position’ Click on this.
  1. Provide the job title, place of work, and time period. If possible, select the place of work as a group already on LinkedIn. You may have to fiddle with the name for the search option to pop up, like ‘Yale University School of Medicine’ instead of ‘Yale School of Medicine.’ By choosing their LinkedIn group/company, their logo now appears on your experience entry, e.g. Yale University. Pictures and logos can convey information faster than the written word. But your viewers may not recognize the logo, so include both the logo and the name of the company in your experience entries.
  1. Provide a description. List your key responsibilities and successes for each experience. I recommend using bullet points for ease of reading. You may also want to include numbers and statistics.
  • “As a TA, I designed learning outcomes and prepared materials for discussion section. I held review sessions, co-wrote three exams, and graded and evaluated ~20 students.”
  • “During my presidency, CNSPY organized 20 events, and developed a blog and podcast. I also personally raised over $2,500 for CNSPY events.”

For research and teaching experiences, I also provide a sentence or two on the research topics and a brief course synopsis. You should consider including conference information related to a particular research project.

  • Researched very long abortive transcripts (VLATs) from coli RNA polymerase on a T5 N25 promoter variant with in vitro roadblock transcription.
  • Presented a poster at the 2010 American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Anaheim, CA (Poster 679.7)

Experiences to include:

  • Research experiences – summer internships, graduate work, undergraduate work, rotations. More on rotations – if the rotation led to a publication or a poster at a conference, then I would include it. You made a worthwhile contribution, and you should showcase it.
  • Workshops or presentations you’ve given on a topic – this will demonstrate your expertise.
  • TA-ing, tutoring, or teaching positions – this will reveal your life-long dedication to teaching if you are going for a teaching position.
  • Leadership experiences – this is important for consulting and team-leading opportunities.
  • Teamwork experiences – this is relevant for those going outside academia.

Remember: You need to review the wording to ensure clarity and brevity. Like your CV, it’s a work in progress.


Media in the Experience Section

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

LinkedIn also provides the option of media uploads for each experience entry. I think this a fantastic tool. I commonly see photos, but you can also upload videos, etc. I recommend two per experience entry and high-resolution media.

What to provide? You want to use these media uploads to demonstrate your skill set. This is another marketing tool. For example:

  • Teamwork and collaboration. I uploaded a lab photo and a group photo of CNSPY.
  • Laboratory Experience. I put up a picture of me in lab.
  • Communication Experience. A photo of me presenting in front of 100+ people.


Other examples include:

  • A picture of you instructing a class.
  • Education Outreach. Picture of you helping at a science fair.
  • Writing Experience. Links to your blog or other projects you’ve worked on.

These photos and media uploads must enhance your experience entry and have a purpose. My goal is to convey skills through photos. On the first glance, recruiters may not take the time to read the details of my experiences. But the photos will draw their attention and subtly convey my messages.

Remember: High resolution only. Provide simple captions.

Observations: You can upload all types of media – links, videos, PDFs, PowerPoint presentations. I prefer images, but these other forms of media can be helpful, too.


Recommendations of Your Experiences

This is a relatively new, neat feature. Recommendations are statements made by co-workers, colleagues, client, etc., who are first-degree connections. These statements can be incredibly helpful and some say are more valuable than endorsements on the skills section, which I will discuss later.

The recommendations come in different flavors:

  1. Short with two sentences, or
  2. Long with a couple of paragraphs.

Regardless, the common element is specificity. Just like a letter of recommendation, the LinkedIn recommendation must be specific and provide deeper insight into you as a professional!

Before you send a request:

  1. Choose your recommenders wisely. You can only have three recommendations per experience entry.
  1. Talk about the recommendation first with your recommender. Let your recommender know which skills and key words you want to be conveyed on your profile.

How to request a LinkedIn recommendation:

  1. Go to your profile and click the down arrow to the right of the button near your profile picture.

Recommendation Button

  1. Click Ask to be recommended from the dropdown menu.
  1. Choose one of your positions (The related experience must be present on your LinkedIn profile first.).
  1. Name your recommenders. You can have up to three for each experience entry.
  1. Click Send. You can ask your connections to write a recommendation of your work that you can display on your profile.


  • Put some time between recommendations. Stagger them out. Plan ahead so that they do not all appear just before you go on the job market.
  • If you are writing one, I stick to short and sweet. Be direct and avoid vague statements. Provide concrete examples.

Note: Recommendations have a 3,000-character limit.


Skills & Endorsements

The skills & endorsement section is a quick survey of your skills. In this section, first-degree connections can quickly highlight your strengths that your peers value. It is similar to liking a post or photo on Facebook. Recruiters can quickly look over the list and see if your particular set of skills match the position that they are trying to fill.


At the same time, you can build your professional identity through this section. First you can list your skills. Second, you can delete endorsements if you are trying to demonstrate expertise in complex procedures or if you are trying to move away from the bench. This is a great section to help you market yourself as unique and valuable.

Moreover, this is a great way to interact with your network. You can endorse others. In general, if you endorse someone, they will endorse you back.


  1. As scientists, we tend to promote our technical skills. Do not forget to include softer skills like ‘Science communications’ and ‘grant writing.’
  2. If you want a particular trait to stand out, say ‘teamworking,’ ask a few friends to endorse you. There is no harm in this. For example, I endorsed ‘leadership’ and ‘teamwork’ for a fellow CNSPY board member, who was applying for a consulting position.

Two caveats:

  • LinkedIn will make suggestions of possible skills for your connections to endorse. For example, I routinely get endorsed for PCR, but I did not list this skill in my profile. Again you can delete these endorsements if you are seeking a position away from the bench.
  • Moreover from my own profile, I know that some of my connections endorsed me for skills that were not part of our interaction. For example, how would my fellow CNSPY board member know that I do PCR well? I know this and recruiters will, too. This is why recommendations might be a better way to convey your skills. At the same time, I do love the ability to quickly evaluate someone’s skills. In conclusion, there are positives and negatives with the endorsement section.



You can also add publications to your LinkedIn profile! I highly recommend this. For scientists, publications are our bread and butter. They demonstrate our skill sets in a peer-reviewed manner and reveal how we think, our skills at logic, and the scientific method.

In a publication entry, you are able to list the authors in the same order as on the publication and provide a link to the paper. When you do this extra step, you help out your network. The publication will appear on the profiles of the other authors, if they allow it.


If one of the authors is not on LinkedIn, fear not. You can just add their name.

The publication section is another great way to showcase your success as a science professional.


In closing, the experience section on your LinkedIn profile is a great marketing tool. It has many special features that allow you to go beyond the written word with media and endorsements.

In my next post, I will discuss the connecting side of LinkedIn: invites and InMail. Until then, please reach out to me to provide feedback or ask questions. I am happy to help, and I welcome all feedback!

Summer Spotlight Series:

  • LinkedIn vs. Research Gate
  • Basics Part I: Editing, profile picture, and professional headline
  • Basics Part II: Experience section – media, recommendations, endorsements, and publications
  • Basics Part III: Invites and InMail


** Update the Experience section of your LinkedIn profile using these tips and let us know how it helps you improve your professional image! **

Share your thoughts below by clicking the “Leave a Reply” link or by clicking the chat bubble in the top right of the post.

LinkedIn: The Basics – Part 1

This week we’re highlighting Post #2 of the 2016 CNSPY Summer Spotlight Series. Here, guest blogger, Tenaya Vallery, CNSPY Executive Board Member and former CNSPY President, takes us through the basics of the LinkedIn profile and highlights how we can maximize our professional online presence. Here’s Tenaya…


LinkedIn! In a series of four posts, we are delving into LinkedIn and discussing its advantages for science PhDs. In this post, I will go over more basics of the LinkedIn profile – editing your profile, the profile picture, and your professional headline. Along the way, I will share examples and tips. Here we go!

What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is an online platform that helps you “build and engage with your professional network.” The basic premise is that you have an online profile similar to a CV and you can connect with others, establishing a visible professional network.

In this post, I will focus on creating your professional identity, your LinkedIn profile. Your profile is a window into your professional journey, and it may be your first interaction with recruiters, hiring managers, potential bosses, and other scientists. Ergo you should present yourself professionally, with both images and words.


Editing Your Profile – Turn OFF the Notifications

First, I encourage you to edit your profile at least twice a year or whenever a major career change happens.

Second, when you edit your profile, I recommend turning off your notifications. Your network does not need to know that you changed a little thing in your experience section. The notification feature is great for letting your network know that you switched jobs or got a big award. Otherwise you should turn off this feature.



The Profile Picture

A profile picture is necessary!  A profile without a profile picture does not seem genuine, while, in comparison, one with a photo engages the eye.  I cannot connect the name with a real-life person.  This is also an opportunity to appear warm and inviting. Take advantage of the chance to build a sense of trust with someone before you even meet them!

That said, I am also aware that prejudice can come from a photo. Last year AirBnB, the online room-share website, ran into this problem. AirBnB found that African American users are more likely to be denied a room request by hosts compared to white American users. Specifically, the discrepancy between rates of denied and accepted requests depended on profile pictures and African American-sounding names, leading many African American users to not use a profile picture. Despite what I have heard about this issue, I still believe that your professional profile should be a truthful representation of you, including your photo.

A few tips. I have chatted with several recruiters about the profile picture and picked up a few suggestions.

  • In the picture – ONLY YOU. Some people put up their wedding photo. I understand that this is a significant moment and you both look wonderful, but I am confused about whose profile it is. Be direct. Have a photo of you, by yourself.
  • Background – Neutral, Outdoors. The goal of the photo is for them to look at you. Don’t let the eyes of the recruiter get distracted by your surroundings. The lighting should be even and of good quality. Avoid shadows on your face and behind you. Also keep in mind the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds in photography suggests that, in a headshot, your face should only occupy 1/3 of the image. If the picture is just your face, it is not visually appealing. Alternatively if your face is too small, a connection might not recognize you.
  • Apparel – Professional dress. Dress in business casual with business jackets and collars. Myself, I prefer professional sweaters and dresses.
  • Facial Expression – SMILE!!! No sexy or cute face. Have a warm smile. Be you!
  • Quality – Medium. Professional photographers and high-quality cameras are nice. But I don’t have these. I asked my cousin who works for a TV news station to take and edit my photo. Maybe you can ask a friend with a quality camera to take your photo. If not, use your phone. There are some great apps that provide free filters to edit your photo. Adobe Photoshop is also a great program. The goal is to have a strong, clear image of YOU!! Avoid graininess, shadows, and weird enhancements.


The Professional Headline

When people look you up, they first see your professional headline. It is a statement of who you are professionally, such as Biochemist. I encourage you to use the professional headline as a marketing device.

  • If you are trying to apply for positions outside of academia, try a title like Biochemist, rather than Graduate Student. By doing this, recruiters searching through LinkedIn Premium might find you more quickly.
  • Or you could reword your position. Instead of Graduate Student, how about Ph.D. Candidate or Pre-doctoral Fellow.
  • Do you have a fellowship? Try NIH (Insert Award Code here, e.g. K99) Post-Doctoral Fellow at Yale.

Observations: Some people are putting check marks and adjectives into their professional headlines. I am not a fan. Let your audience judge if you are a Successful Biochemist. Your experience and publications speak for you.

Note: The professional headline has a 120-character limit.


Simplify Your LinkedIn Page Web Address

LinkedIn provides a letter and number code for your LinkedIn page. However, you can simplify it to your name or a simple handle.

How to:

First, click on the gear icon next to the web address on your profile. Hover your mouse to the right side of it for the gear icon to appear.

LinkedIn Web Address

A new page will load. On the right side, there will be a banner with the edit option for the web address. I used my name. Luckily it’s unique and was available. If your name is not available, use alternatives like ‘TVallery’ or ‘tenayavallery_biochemist.’ Remember to stick to professional handles.

Edit Web Address


In closing, the LinkedIn profile is for professional purposes. Ergo you should approach your profile picture and headline through a lens of professionalism. Good luck!

In my next post, I will discuss the experience section, the meat of your profile. Until then, please reach out to me to provide feedback or ask questions. I am happy to help!

Summer Spotlight Series:

  • LinkedIn vs. ResearchGate
  • Basics Part I: Editing, profile picture, and professional headline
  • Basics Part II: Experience section – media, recommendations, endorsements, and publications
  • Basics Part III: Invites and InMail


** Check your LinkedIn profile and see if yours abides by these guidelines. If not, make a few adjustments and let us know how it helps you improve your professional image! **

Share your thoughts below by clicking the “Leave a Reply” link or by clicking the chat bubble in the top right of the post.

LinkedIn vs. ResearchGate

Now that Summer is here and in full swing, the CNSPY blog is hosting its second Summer Spotlight Series! We started this series last Summer with guest blogger, Dianna Bartel, Director of Research Communications for the Spiegel lab in the Chemistry Department at Yale, who wrote a 4-post series on how to write science effectively.

This Summer, we’re continuing the Summer Spotlight Series and featuring guest blogger, Tenaya Vallery, CNSPY Executive Board Member and former CNSPY President, as she details the usefulness of LinkedIn as a professional tool for career advancement. Here, in her first post she compares LinkedIn and ResearchGate and highlights the advantages of LinkedIn, especially for those wishing to leave academia. Here’s Tenaya… 


LinkedIn! In a series of four posts, we are delving into LinkedIn and discussing its advantages for science PhDs. In this post, I will discuss two popular online platforms used for scientific networking: LinkedIn and ResearchGate. Along the way, I will share examples and insights. Here we go!



LinkedIn Banner Logo

Without doubt, you must have a LinkedIn account. LinkedIn is the Facebook of the professional world. Everyone has it, and it is a great resource for staying up to date with your colleagues, companies/organizations related to your field, etc.

Launched in 2003, LinkedIn is a website that connects professionals of all careers, not just scientists. This highly visible website has neat features and evolves rapidly to meet our needs as professionals.

If you want to transition out of academia, LinkedIn is a great tool for that. You can follow companies you are applying to as a way to prepare for your interviews! You will also have access to job postings.

One negative, LinkedIn has also been evolving as a business, with LinkedIn Premium. Some features that were once free are now only available through LinkedIn Premium.

Some of you may be thinking about buying into the LinkedIn Premium package. I caution you against that. Personally, the free LinkedIn account serves my needs and has led to a few exciting opportunities. Moreover I have asked a few recruiters about this. They likewise cautioned against the Premium account, saying “Why pay for something you can get for free?”

As an FYI to current LinkedIn users, expect more changes! Microsoft just purchased LinkedIn. This acquisition may bring more business-like features to increase their profits.

On a whole, LinkedIn is essential for young professionals, even scientists. I strongly recommend you first open an account, develop your profile, and build your network. LinkedIn is an online gateway to your professional world and to new opportunities.



ResearchGate Logo

Launched in 2008, ResearchGate is a publication-centered network for scientists online.

ResearchGate has some research-specific features.

  • You are able to upload PDFs of your publications, which helps the scientific community access your research despite journal fees.
  • Receive stats on your publications, e.g. number of reads and citations.
  • Fellow users are able to direct their questions about your research to you.
  • You can follow and connect with colleagues and others in your field or a field you are trying to break into.
  • Similar to LinkedIn, you may also find jobs through this website and receive endorsements of your skills.
  • You will receive updates on publications coming from peers and connections.

This online platform is very science heavy. You will not find as many recruiters on ResearchGate compared to LinkedIn. But ResearchGate is great for connecting with peers in science and has a feel of ‘open-access.’


Personal Recommendation

I have accounts on both. But I will fully admit that I use my LinkedIn account more. I do like the stats and open-access nature of ResearchGate, but I have not found ResearchGate to be as community-based as LinkedIn. LinkedIn has a lot of group activity, and a lively news feed. ResearchGate on the other hand is slow moving at the moment. Although I love the idea of ResearchGate, I have not received one question yet on my research. I really hope to one day. My standpoint may change with the growing number of business-centered changes to the LinkedIn platform. Other users, myself included, may find ResearchGate more friendly and less corporate-like compared to LinkedIn.

In closing, you should have accounts on both LinkedIn and ResearchGate. I encourage you to invest the energy to develop your LinkedIn profile. In the next three posts, I will go over the basics of LinkedIn and provide some insights into a few neat features of LinkedIn.


Summer Spotlight Series:

  • LinkedIn vs. ResearchGate
  • Basics Part I: Editing, profile picture, and professional headline
  • Basics Part II: Experience section – media, recommendations, endorsements, and publications
  • Basics Part III: Invites and InMail


** Set up your LinkedIn and ResearchGate accounts today and let us know which one you prefer! **

Share your thoughts below by clicking the “Leave a Reply” link or by clicking the chat bubble in the top right of the post.

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