I know. I know that LinkedIn feels a bit business-like. It doesn’t feel like the domain of nurses. But trust me this is something that you should spend 5-10 minutes setting up.
Linkedin is the biggest online networking site for working professionals like all of us. Creating a profile is a great way to begin to build your nursing and healthcare network outside of only the people you work with. These links and networks may prove to be invaluable for your future career prospects. You can network with people from specific groups/roles only if you want. LinkedIn is what you make it.
I’ll share my own experiences with my LinkedIn account at the end of this post. Now here is a quick list of inclusions I recommend. It will only take 5-10 mins total to complete.
- Profile picture. You can just use one taken on your phone. No professional shots needed just yet. Make sure it has a plain background. Don’t distract from your gorgeous face.
- Pop RN (or whatever your title is) next to your photo. This makes it easier for people who are searching.
- Headline. This is your time to shine. Give yourself a headline. Don’t give me an ‘RN at X hospital’. Gimme a ‘Sydney-based RN with cardiology experience with a special interest in infection control’. Sell yourself, don’t be modest!
- Professional summary. Write this paragraph in the first person. Write about your strengths, experience and what you would bring to a position. Also, put in what job opportunities you are after or what type of nurses you wish to network with.
- Experience. You can just copy and paste this from your CV. But plump each area out a bit. You don’t need to worry about space restrictions on the Link (do people call it ‘The Link’? Let’s start it?)
- Endorsements. This isn’t like a referee. This is sort of ‘liking’ people on LinkedIn but related to work skills. Check out LinkedIn to see the example. You could start by endorsing other people you know to build up your recommendations.
LinkedIn is an essential tool for networking. And while not overly used in nursing, this will change and I implore you to start now. This is something you could quickly set up and leave if you don’t have time for it right now. That way it’s there if someone who may want to hire you can find you. Or an opportunity for expertise is needed by a company. Setting up a profile will only enhance your career. Trust me.
Now my story. I set up my own LinkedIn a few years ago. Just with my basics and a terrible picture. A bit more social than professional. Anyway, I set it and didn’t keep it updated at all. Then I noticed a notification in my email from LinkedIn and decided to check it out. It was a message from a large pharmaceutical company seeking my expertise for a short term education role. I jumped at the challenge. I got invaluable experience working on ‘the other side’. I travelled around Australia and met many nurses and visited many hospitals in Australia. It was a great role and I loved every minute of it. When the education was completed I went back to my hospital role. I returned with a fuller brain and a wider view of the world.
The lesson here is I never went looking for this role. I would never have applied for it. It would have passed me by. But it didn’t due to my little LinkedIn page.
Imagine the opportunities if I had set it up properly!