Making Social Media Work for You – Part 2: LinkedIn

Now that social media has become a ubiquitous form of communication for health professionals, it’s wise to know how best to make it work for you. LinkedIn is a powerful social media tool for nurses, pharmacists, therapists (physical and occupational), and behavioral health professionals when they know how to properly leverage it. The first step is to create a complete, accurate, and interesting profile.

First off, you should always use your full name and to attach an image to the profile. This is very important for health professionals because LinkedIn statistics show that profiles without pictures are rarely viewed, not to mention that the close relationship between you, patient, and peers is one of trust that is informed by visuals as a starting point.

The headline area, which is immediately below your name and adjacent to your picture, is an important information tool for potential patients and prospective employers, so don’t just use your current job title. This can be a way to further tell people who you are as a professional, so nurses, physical therapists, pharmacists, and behavioral health specialists should list all professional accreditation acronyms next to their name. By adding a brief introduction to your areas of specialty via your headline, it provides a further personalization and descriptor of who you are.

linkedin-bannerWhile you may know that the Experience section of your profile should start with your current position, the detail and language that you use is vitally important. The goal is to succinctly provide a picture of your accomplishments that conveys how you approach and work with patients and peers. This is the key to helping potential patients, clients, and employers understand how you apply your skills and personality to the job at hand.

When it comes to LinkedIn, list any and every skill you have that is applicable to your career goals. Keep in mind that skills and experience can be separate items. That means that the key to completing this section is to include only as much information as is necessary for what you want to accomplish. This may be your entire CV or just your recent experience with highlights of key successes or accomplishments.

You want to quickly replace the URL that LinkedIn will create for your profile and create a custom URL as a way to boost your visibility and accessibility online. By changing your URL to your first and last name, it can increase your Google search ranking so that you can be found faster and more often.

LinkedIn can be an introduction to you professionally so be sure to include a link to your personal website, business website, and/or blog in your profile. While nurses and pharmacists are not likely to have professional or personal websites, a blog can be an additional way to share personal and medical insights with peers, employers, and patients. Behavioral health professionals and therapists can be employed by a healthcare institution as well as be a standalone business so having this option expands business and communication opportunities with potential employers and clients.

One aspect that most health professionals overlook is utilizing keywords throughout their profile. It’s important to get an understanding of how they work so that you can utilize targeted, professional terms and phrases that correspond to your job skills. Prospective employers and clients are known to use them when searching for health professionals with a specific skill set. By using these words throughout your LinkedIn profile, you’ll appear in more search results.

Professional endorsements are an important aspect of telling people about your skills, associations and credibility in the health field so they should continue to accumulate as time goes by. Recommendations are short testimonials from your professional contacts that will appear on your profile. These recommendations are very powerful tools for healthcare professionals like nurses, therapists, and behavioral health professionals.

It’s not uncommon for healthcare professionals, such as nurses, to take a mix of short- and longer-term assignments throughout their careers. The growing list of recommendations from peers and managers at these assignments can boost your credibility among prospective employers and clients while adding targeted personality insights into you as a professional.

Another good idea is to immediately start leveraging LinkedIn Groups by joining those that are applicable to your field, and even starting one of your own. These can provide a forum for like-minded nurses, pharmacists, therapists, and behavioral health professionals that create an ongoing conduit for networking and sharing of ideas, concepts, and jobs.

Displaying and commenting on your choices in LinkedIn’s Amazon reading list is a professional way to provide greater insights into who you are as a professional and a person. There are also countless professional publications that have LinkedIn forums where you can join to keep up and comment on the latest news that affects the field on a social, political, and institutional level.

These last two items are as critical as anything you do with your LinkedIn profile. The first is to check and double check every entry you make to your profile for accuracy, and the second is to make sure that the entire profile is complete. If you follow these suggestions and keep your profile current, it can help your professional life in untold and immeasurable ways.

 

General Healthcare Resources, Inc. (GHR) is a leading healthcare staffing agency for nurses, pharmacy professionals, therapists, and behavioral health professionals. Through our blog, we strive to provide helpful information that our employees and our clients’ employees can use to develop skills in their respective occupations and to grow their careers. For information about our healthcare staffing services, please visit our website or contact us at info@ghresources.com.

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