Whether you’re fresh out of nursing school or have years of experience, having a LinkedIn profile is sure to help you with your nursing career!
Here are 5 reasons why you need to have an active presence on LinkedIn.
Professional Social Profile
As a rule of thumb, whether you are actively seeking a job or not, keeping your social media profiles professional is important. Your social profiles should not contain posts that would represent you poorly. However, there are parts of our lives we simply don’t want our employer or professional contacts to see, which is where LinkedIn can be helpful. Keeping your personal life on alternate social media platforms and changing your settings to private can help keep your social personal life separate from your professional business life.
LinkedIn is the perfect social platform to create and maintain a professional footprint online where employers can look at your professional accomplishments and values. The best profiles are completely filled out so strive for all-star status to rank higher in searches.
Profile Picture Guidelines:
- Professional headshots are best
- Make sure your expression looks approachable
- Wear professional clothing
- Photo background isn’t distracting
- No selfies
It is important to have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile picture that correctly portrays what you look like. You don’t want a potential connection or employer to be thrown off when you meet in person.
LinkedIn Banner Photo:
Your LinkedIn banner photo (the photo that is displayed behind your profile pic) is the perfect opportunity to sum up what you do with a photo!
In the headline section (under your profile picture) make sure the first 10 – 12 words describe your title and what specialty you work in.
- “Jane Smith I Emergency Department R.N. I Certifications include: TNCC, ACLS, PALS”
If you want to be a little more creative you could say something like:
- “Anchorage-based ER Nurse, with certifications in TNCC, ACLS, PALS focusing on improving patient care.”
Keep it short and laser-focused on what you do and can offer a potential employer.
Build an Online Network
LinkedIn users have the ability to both “follow” people and companies as well as “connect with them.”
Follow Potential Employers
Many healthcare companies have a strong LinkedIn presence. When you begin researching potential companies you want to work for, follow their social feed. Look at what types of articles they share, comments they get, as well as how they respond to others.
By staying updated with a company’s LinkedIn page, you can begin to identify whether or not the culture is a good fit for you.
Connect with Potential Employers
Once you have decided on a few companies, you can start to connect with them.
If you want to dig even deeper, LinkedIn shows a list of employees who work at each company. Depending on how well the employees have filled out their profiles, you can find who works on specific floors, who works in human resources, charge nurses, etc.
When you decide to hit that “connect” button leave a short introductory note. Introduce yourself as if you were meeting in real life. Include the reason you would like to connect and thank them for their time. Showing professional courtesy when asking for LinkedIn connections goes a long way.
Keep Resume/CV Up to Date
LinkedIn is a handy place to keep your resume or Curriculum Vitae up to date.
It includes typical sections like education and employment as well as volunteer experience, endorsements, recommendations and interests you have.
Make sure to utilize all parts of the LinkedIn profile. As you fill out the sections, list your present and previous positions. Use bullets to break up lists, as it is easier to read on mobile screens. Add keywords in each section to help potential employers find your profile in their search.
Updating your volunteer experience is just as important as your job experience section. Having examples in each area of your LinkedIn profile shows you as a well-rounded person. Ask past employers, professors and colleagues for endorsements and recommendations.
As the healthcare world continues to change, you know it is important to keep an eye out for your next career move or opportunity. Having a strong LinkedIn network makes that a lot easier!
Keep in mind, many jobs that companies post online will be filled internally. However, because companies pay more to post jobs on LinkedIn than other job boards, often this signified that they are looking to fill those positions externally.
When job searching on LinkedIn, you see how you are connected to the job poster or company. Even if you are not a first connection, but you know someone who is connected, reach out and ask if they are familiar with the position. If they know who is hiring, this helps to personalize your communications when applying for the job.
LinkedIn also displays how many applicants a job has had (through the ad). This information can be helpful when negotiating an offer. For example, if they had a low number of applicants, you may have some leverage when negotiating pay and benefits.
You can save up to 10 job searches and customize them for a specific company, title or geographic area. LinkedIn will even start suggesting companies to follow that you may not have known about, thus expanding your job search for you!
Keep up with your profession
LinkedIn is often the first place people go to stay up-to-date with industry news.
There are two ways to keep up with the latest trends: following companies of interest and joining groups.
There are over 2 million LinkedIn groups to choose from. There are groups focusing on broad topics such as nursing in general, as well as laser focused groups like Pediatric Emergency Nursing. With so many choices, there’s sure to be a group for you!
Active groups are great places to find information on certain topics or learn more about a career path you may be wanting to explore. You can also learn who the thought leaders are in particular subject areas and determine who you want to follow or connect with!
Now that you understand the importance of how LinkedIn can help your nursing career, take time to upgrade your profile or create one! Make sure to check in on it often and keep it updated for maximum results.
Vicky Warren is a former nurse and freelance healthcare writer and virtual assistant specializing in social media. Her experience includes ghostwriting and managing social media profiles for nurse entrepreneurs and private practice medical offices. Learn more about her at Vicky Warren Writing, and you can connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.