Stories of Medical Innovation

Make These 5 Changes to Your LinkedIn Profile to Get Industry’s Attention

Our colleagues in the pharmaceutical, medical device and biotechnology industries actively seek partnerships with academic scientists and clinicians. One of the best ways to ensure you’re found when industry is looking is to optimize your LinkedIn profile.

You can do this in less than one hour by following these five steps:

1. Be an all-star.

Ensure your LinkedIn profile is completed with no blank spaces or gaps. LinkedIn will give you ‘All-Star’ status if you have the following information in your profile:

  • Your industry and location
  • Your current position
  • At least two previous positions
  • Your educational background
  • At least three skills
  • At least 50 connections
  • A professional photo

Note: Your standard faculty photo taken by Creative Communications is probably ideal for your LinkedIn profile. Don’t have one? Email

2. Use trigger keywords in your headline

Your headline is the first thing people see when searching for contacts in LinkedIn. While your headline defaults to show your current position, it is fully customizable. Use trigger keywords in your headline to let industry professionals know right away that you are interested in working with them. Be up-front and succinct about the value you offer. Here are two examples:

Example 1: John Doe is an established and well-published dermatologist who conducts clinical trials for industry in psoriasis patients.

Headline: Dermatology Thought Leader and Principal Investigator on Psoriasis Clinical Trials

Example 2: Jane Smith is an assistant professor of comparative medicine who specializes in the preclinical assessment of early-stage diabetes therapeutics

Headline: Academic Expert Helping Pharma Assess Early-stage Diabetes Therapeutics

Advanced Users: Use keywords that industry contacts might use in a search in your summary as well. For our dermatologist example above, I’d suggest he include in his narrative terms such as psoriasis expert, industry clinical trial, phase 1, phase 2, etc.

3. Request recommendations from colleagues in industry

Do you have established relationships with colleagues in industry? Reach out to your contacts and request they write a recommendation about your professional capabilities. When making the ask, approach your colleague with a specific request. If you partnered to conduct a clinical trial, ask your colleague to speak to your clinical expertise. If you co-paneled a speaker session, ask your colleague to comment on your expertise. Be gracious and don’t forget to let your colleague know you’d be happy to recommend him or her as well.

Follow these steps to request a recommendation via LinkedIn:

  • Login to LinkedIn.
  • Hover over your photo at the top right of the browser window.
  • Select ‘Privacy and Settings’.
  • Select the ‘Manage Your Recommendations’ link.
  • Select ‘Ask for Recommendations’. Make sure to customize your message to your colleague.

4. Build your network of contacts

Make it a habit to connect with new contacts on LinkedIn while the connection is still fresh. Follow-up in-person meetings with connection requests. Collect business cards at conferences by day and make your connection requests by night.

Make sure you customize each request. Mention where the two of you met and why you’d like to connect. In no time you will have built a strong network resource that will be able to help you grow professionally for years to come.

5. Join 10 LinkedIn groups

There are nearly two million groups on LinkedIn, on topics ranging from needlepointing to astrophysics.

Join at least 10 new LinkedIn groups to strengthen your online reach. Make sure you are joining the same groups that your colleagues in industry have joined. Engage with these groups: post questions, answer others’ questions and link to your latest publications and blog posts. This engagement will convert into more online activity and will strengthen your overall LinkedIn profile.

About Marketing & Communications at Wake Forest Innovations

The Marketing & Communications department of Wake Forest Innovations promotes our faculty’s research assets and services to future industry partners through a digital-first marketing program. As your digital marketing partner, we can help you generate new sources of revenue for your research program.

I invite you to email me directly at to learn more. Let’s get a cup of coffee and network. And don’t be surprised if you get a LinkedIn request from me shortly after our meeting.

If you are interested in learning more about how to enhance your LinkedIn profile, we suggest this article by Lisa Dougherty: 16 Tips to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile and Enhance Your Personal Brand