Last week, I wrote a general post about the uses of social media for nurses. Over the next few weeks, I plan to focus in on each platform that I recommended, with some specific pointers on how to get started, or how to take your current usage to the next level.
This time around, we’re going to focus on Linked In, which I feel is the most powerful platform for career development. Let’s get started.
Originally, I wrote the following about Linked In:
Linked In is a powerful platform for career development and professional networking. Many people still don’t know how to use it well, but if you get some help and set up a powerful and robust profile for yourself, it’s a great way to network with professionals who share your interests.
Linked In is like a giant search engine for careers and professional growth and development, and I’ve used it successfully to meet many colleagues with whom I have a great deal in common.
You can also think of your Linked In profile as your online resume, although it’s more like a resume on steroids. By having colleagues write you recommendations and endorse you for your specific skills, your profile is a CV with the power of the Internet behind it. For those who want to advance, change or improve their careers, Linked in is the place.
It’s All About You!
Your Linked In profile is all about you. When someone visits your profile, you want them to learn who you are, what you do, what you’ve done, and possibly what you’re looking for. I have thoroughly optimized my profile, so please feel free to take a look at it as a model of what a nurse’s Linked In profile can be like.
You will notice that I have listed specific skills, and I’ve made sure to include jobs, education, certifications, publications, as well as a very thorough summary. I also added a section about “how to contact Keith” at the bottom since this is very highly recommended by the experts.
It’s Also About Keywords!
Like I said in last week’s post, Linked In is like a giant professional search engine. If you look at my profile again, you’ll see that it is chock-full of the keywords “nurse”, “nursing”, “coach”, etc. I did this because I want those keywords to be the ones that people mostly use to find me. You’ll also notice that my headline under my name doesn’t just say “nurse”, it says “Expert Coach for Nurses: I help nurses create vibrant, healthy and satisfying personal and professional lives!” Your headline and job titles should reflect what you do and use the keywords that will bring you up in searches. Recruiters use Linked In to find prospects for jobs, and those who aren’t recruiters (like you and me) use it to meet other professionals with similar interests.
It’s Also About Connecting!
When I choose to connect with someone on Linked In, I don’t send them an anonymous request. Rather, I read their profile and send them a personalized message and request, reflecting on why I want to connect with them.
When someone sends me an invitation that’s impersonal, I also don’t accept right away. Instead, I write to them and ask why they want to connect. Those who respond receive my attention. Those who don’t respond do not. This weeds out the people who are just trying to get their numbers of connections higher without really getting to know anyone. I find that annoying.
I also try to deepen some connections by keeping in touch by private email and sometimes making dates to chat on the phone or by Skype with people I am most interested in getting to know.
Groups are also a great way to get to know your fellow Linked In members and connect with those with whom you share professional goals and aspirations. I pose questions in some of the groups I belong to on a regular basis, and the conversations that ensue can be very enlightening and fun.
There’s Always More!
Linked In is a powerful networking tool, but few people really know how to leverage its power and make full use of it. From finding work to connecting with like-minded professionals, I find it a fascinating and very satisfying use of my social media time!