LinkedIn is one of those social networks that many of us have always been at least dimly aware of - not least as we may have had friends already on the platform sending us an email invitation to 'connect' with them. However, we might not necessarily be very well-versed in it.

The truth is, LinkedIn can be an invaluable tool in your search for science jobs, not least in light of the tendency for professional opportunities to come through contacts at least as often as through applications to openly advertised vacancies.

How to get started with a great profile

As is the case with other social networks, you can expect to be most rewarded on LinkedIn when you complete your profile as fully as possible. That begins with uploading a photo of yourself, so be sure to make it smart, friendly and professional looking.

You will also be asked to provide a headline to your profile that is much like the personal statement that you may include on your CV. The best profile headline will probably refer in some way to your exact science field - such as biotechnology, medical or pharmaceutical - along with a more specific skill or area of expertise.

There's also space in your LinkedIn profile to provide a more detailed summary of yourself, along with similarly in-depth information on your experience, education, skills and expertise.

Then, it's all about connecting with people!

LinkedIn is not designed to be a passive platform - it has been conceived with proactive business networking in mind, so don't be afraid to get connecting.

That process may initially be as simple as using the search function to find present colleagues or people who you have previously worked with. However, it could be easily extended to searching for HR contacts at companies that you would like to work for, or searching for those already working in the kind of science jobs to which you aspire.

Once you have 'connected' with someone (the LinkedIn equivalent of 'adding a friend'), visit their profile and check out the 'People also viewed' box for more potentially fascinating contacts, including both individuals and employers. You might also investigate past companies that each of your contacts has worked for.

The more LinkedIn connections you have, the larger your network will be and therefore, the more opportunities you will potentially be able to expose yourself to.

Keep exploring LinkedIn for opportunities

The aforementioned, in a nutshell, is how to use LinkedIn, although you should also be aware of the interest groups and discussions that you can join, as well as the various other fascinating functionalities that are being continually introduced to the platform. Invest in a paid Premium account, and you will be able to stand out even further from the crowd.

While LinkedIn is not necessarily the last word in business networking even in today's heavily social media-oriented age, it can nonetheless make an immense difference to your chances of turning the heads of the right science recruitment professionals and even nabbing that dream role in energy, telecommunications, food/FMCG or another science or technology role. 

One task that is essential for those gunning for all manner of science jobs, ranging from clinical, biotechnology and engineering roles to posts in quality assurance, regulatory affairs and procurement, is selling oneself quickly.

As the saying goes, hiring managers form opinions about candidates very quickly these days - within just seconds - so it is vital to quickly make a brilliant impression at interview. Whether you refer to it as your 'personal pitch', '60 second commercial' or something else entirely, the basic gist is obvious: it needs to succinctly summarise what you do and why someone else should work with you.

The basic rules of the 'lift pitch'

The 'lift pitch' is so-called because it is based on what you would say to your dream employer if you found yourself in a lift with them, and only had the time from the beginning of the lift's journey until the end in which to convince them to take you on.

It therefore needs to be a genuinely concise introduction of no more than 30-60 seconds, in language that is easy to understand so that the listener is hooked immediately. You will need to use strong, powerful words to create a memorable image in the hiring manager's mind of a person who they simply cannot afford not to hire.  

A great lift pitch isn't just a sharp bullet-point list of the great things about your candidacy - it also tells a story, setting out a problem and how you can solve it. It is also necessarily tailored to the vacancy in question, in much the same way that a great CV is.

Putting together a great lift pitch

A great lift pitch tends to open with a compelling 'hook' that piques the interest of the employer or science recruitment agency, followed by a passionate demonstration of what you stand for as a professional and the value that you can bring to the role. You might conclude it with a question that asks something of the interviewer.

Given the 60-word limit, we would recommend a 150-225 word count for your lift pitch. When you come to write it, you should first consider what you actually do, and come up with 10-20 different ways of expressing it in spoken form - the idea being to edit these ideas and eliminate those that come across as too dull, inappropriate or even amusing.

Your aim is to generate as many potential lift pitches as possible, crafting, refining and/or merging as necessary to create a powerful message that advertises you at your best. Don't forget to record yourself in audio and/video form, making your lift pitch, so that you can consider further changes.

Creating lift pitches is a continuous process

Remember that the process of creating the perfect, clear and impactful lift pitch is never-ending, with your pitch necessarily differing between different science jobs. You should also constantly contemplate ways to improve your lift pitch so that you are always making the best possible first impression at each and every interview that you attend for a science role.   

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