I’m online a lot, but am very picky about where I spend my time. I have a marrvy 3 year old granddaughter to play with! I am a business owner that loves what I do and could be online all the time. I love my community and could volunteer in many areas. I am blessed with many options and with those options come decisions.
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In my opinion, for online connection and professional branding, LinkedIn is near the top. It is a great place to find and be found.
I tell all my colleagues and clients if they are not on LinkedIn, they need to be and now. I often work with early to advanced career nurses who are establishing their professional brand or in a career transition. I coach them to get started and begin a profile today! I am happy to work with them & fine tune that profile. I give the same advice to nurse researchers or entrepreneurs….or really anyone who provides a product or service. And what product is more important than Brand You?!
Ready? Let’s explore the 8 reasons I believe nurses should have a presence on LinkedIn.
1. Dig your well before you’re thirsty.
I remember reading Harvey Mackay’s book back in the early days of my career. Mackay suggests in the book, “Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty” that you should always have options lined up in the event that things don’t work out. Let’s face it, the healthcare climate is always changing. Different practice environments and models of care may favor those with an unusual element to their background. The evolution of the healthcare environment may force you to change what you do. Think about your skill sets and what you’ve accomplished – how does that define you? LinkedIn is a good place to showcase that part of you.
2. LinkedIn is one element of your digital footprint that you control.
Too many healthcare folks are not concerned with their professional digital footprint. That is, the record of stuff that appears when you conduct a vanity search on Google or Bing. In fact, it’s been suggested that Google has replaced the CV. When I search myself I find interviews long forgotten that never made my CV. And unlike other searchable sources, the information on LinkedIn is in your control. Think about LinkedIn as home plate for your personal brand. If you don’t think of yourself as a personal brand, perhaps you should. LinkedIn will force the issue for you.
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3. It’s a place to park your CV.
Even if you’re not planning to go anywhere, hospital administrators, colleagues and other members of your world should have a place to go to learn a little bit about you. Even if you’re not a career climber, others need to see what you’ve done, where you’ve been, or what you’re into. If you don’t maintain any kind of digital property (blog, Twitter feed), think of LinkedIn as your professional anchor online.
4. Remember, it’s a tool, not a game.
While there are some who look to amass as many connections as possible….I use it as a place to collect and track the relationships I’ve developed or want to develop further. I want to be able to point to everyone in my network and tell you how I have engaged with them. If a person randomly wants to connect with me and we have not worked together, met at a meeting, served on a panel together or connected in a meaningful way in the social space, I probably won’t reciprocate. It’s just how I use LinkedIn.
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5. Keep up with your professional world.
As the numbers of people in your real network grow, LinkedIn provides a great way to keep tabs on career moves. Social channels give us the opportunity to grow our network of connections, meet new people, and reconnect with past associates. Because LinkedIn is targeted to professionals, it is the perfect opportunity to make online connections that can extend your network of peers and colleagues. By connecting with those you have worked with, you can keep up to date on the latest industry information posted by others, keep in touch with peers who could send you referrals, and position yourself as a prime contact in your industry.
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6. Are You Credible?
It is fair to say that nowadays no credible job seeker can afford to be without a decent LinkedIn profile. A good LinkedIn profile adds credibility to your professional reputation, whereas a poor LinkedIn profile can mean that a recruiter, or possible new business contact, overlooks you, in turn for somebody who stands out more.
7. Sharing Your Expertise
As a health care professional, your expert reputation is extremely important. With a LinkedIn profile you can put your expertise on display. Profiles are designed to resemble resumes, so you can highlight your entire educational and professional background, including any training, certifications, industry memberships, or awards you have received.
Joining LinkedIn Groups is also an avenue to share and obtain information. Groups provide a forum to share information, tips, and news with groups of professionals who have similar specialties and interests. Joining and actively participating in these groups is an excellent way to contribute your knowledge and learn from others.
8. Give & Get Recommendations!
In the world of social media—and in the world in general— there is sometimes a lingering sense of doubt as to whether people really are who they say they are and if they are reputable and professional. Recommendations on your LinkedIn profile not only add proof to your credentials and social identity but can speak volumes about your reputation.
Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations from those you have worked with. In the world of LinkedIn, this is not considered a schmarmy practice. 🙂
And don’t forget leave recommendations for others! Not only is it courteous; it places your name and a link to your page on other users’ profiles, extending your visibility.
There you have it, eight quick reasons to use LinkedIn as a reputation building or job attraction tool. Make it a regular practice to get on LinkedIn at least once a week for 15-30 minutes. Stay active and continue to build your network. You will be glad you put in the time. Now….Head on over to LinkedIn and let’s get connected!