Are you a healthcare employee looking to expand your career?
Not sure how to market your skills online?
If so, then you should know that Linkedin is the best online platform to create a positive first impression. In fact you’ll be surprised to know that if someone ‘googles’ your name, your Linkedin profile is probably the first thing that will show up.
Everyone expects you to have a LinkedIn profile and that’s probably where they’ll find you (even before you look for them!). So if you want to strengthen your personal brand and visibility, or find new healthcare (or any industry) opportunities here are 8 ways to leverage LinkedIn.
#1. Create and Complete Your Profile
There’s a big difference between creating your profile and completing it. The difference is perception. An incomplete profile says one or all of the following things about you:
- that you don’t finish what you started
- that you don’t care about your professional image
- that you’re too lazy or too busy to care
- that you’re so boring you don’t have anything to say about yourself
LinkedIn says that complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities than incomplete profiles. So be sure to complete your profile by including your current position, two past positions, your profile summary, education, professional photo, at least three recommendations and your specialties. Some of these are elaborated in more detail below.
#2. Write a Powerful Summary
Your profile is similar to your bio or resume cover letter in that it addresses a potential employer or the type of client you would like to work with. As you write your summary ask yourself the following questions:
- What makes you different from others who do what you do? Do you have a unique approach or process that distinguishes your work?
- What is your story or your background? Remember that your personal story is unique and makes you more interesting than merely describing what you do.
- What benefits can people expect if they work with you? Can you guarantee outstanding results, great value for money etc.?
- What have you achieved in the past? Does anything stand out in your past career that is remarkable and persuasive? Can you quantify it with numbers?
#3. Use a Professional Photo
Never forget that LinkedIn is a professional platform, therefore use a professional photo. Don’t try to look ‘cute’ or ‘funny’ unless you’re a comedian (and even then!). The thing to remember about your photo is that people will look at it and ask themselves:
- Can I trust this person?
- Is he or she worth the project I have in mind?
- Is he or she going to take my business seriously?
Remember that first impressions are lasting and a good headshot represents you in a consistent and compelling way. (By the way, as a suggestion rather than a rule, it’s a good idea to use the same photo in all your social accounts as it makes you easily recognizable).
#4. Use a Keyword-Rich Headline
Don’t over-think this one. Usually your job title is also your headline. However you also have the opportunity to sell yourself here. If you can find clear, simple and direct keywords that describe what you do, go for it.
Try as much as possible not to use jargon in your headline unless you’re absolutely sure that those you want to attract will understand what it means. Remember there’s a big difference between personal branding and ‘findability’ and you have to decide which one is more important to you – will it be ENT specialist or Otolaryngolgist? You decide.
#5. Ask for Recommendations (& Give ‘em away too!)
What do other people think of you? This aspect of your profile is consistent with the online culture of giving and receiving reviews. Those who don’t know you at all are more likely to think highly of you, if other people think highly of you.
Go through your connection list and decide who you want to get a recommendation from. You need at least three for your profile but ten or more is even better. Try to get recommendations from peers, superiors, past employers and even current employers (employers who understand the value of LinkedIn shouldn’t feel threatened to give you a good recommendation, if you deserve it).
Another way to get recommendations is to give them away first. People are more likely to reciprocate and give you a good review if you do it for them first!
#6. Link your Twitter Profile
If you’re active on Twitter (which you should be – and here’s why!) consider linking your LinkedIn and Twitter profiles so that others may get a more complete picture of your digital positioning.
However there are some things to watch out for! Not every Twitter update qualifies as a good LinkedIn update. Be selective in choosing which tweets you wish to share with your LinkedIn community particularly if your tweets tend to be both personal and professional.
A good way to link these two profiles is to publish on LinkedIn only those tweets that have a particular hashtag that you want to be associated with professionally.
#7. Showcase your Specialties
Specialties or areas of expertise are those skills or processes that you’re excellent at. List three or four and if you’re not sure what your specialties are, search for people on LinkedIn who have similar profiles to yours and see how they have listed their specialties.
You may be surprised to find skills that you obviously have but hadn’t considered adding to your profile. Also remember that specialties are an opportunity to leverage keywords that you want to be known for so be particularly thoughtful about this section.
#8. Promote Thyself
Last but not least don’t just sit back after you’ve completed and published your profile. Be active in promoting yourself by joining relevant LinkedIn Groups where you can interact and respond to others.
Also spend a couple of hours each week posting new content (e.g. from your company blog), answering questions on LinkedIn Answers, accepting and initiating new connections with others.
Over to you: How have you leveraged LinkedIn to expand your career opportunities? Please share your experiences in the box below.