Why Every Nurse Should Have A LinkedIn Profile
By Keith Carlson, BSN, RN, NC-BC
LinkedIn is the largest online network for working professionals. Nurses’ careers can greatly benefit from LinkedIn, and creating a solid profile is a great place to start building your nursing and healthcare network.
With over 400 million users, the potential for making positive connections with like-minded professionals is high. Nurses can use LinkedIn to strategically network with other nurses and healthcare colleagues.
If you’re a nurse planning to move to another city or state and find a job quickly, LinkedIn’s search function can help you find local healthcare professionals who may shed light on employers and facilities you’re interested in.
LinkedIn groups are highly useful forums for getting your questions answered and meeting other nurses with similar interests.
In order to use LinkedIn well, having a strong profile is important. Here are 10 tips to help you build a profile that will work for you and your nursing career.
1. Profile Photo
You need to have a relatively high-quality headshot on your profile. Other users want to know who you are, and a photo says a lot. A smart phone can usually do the trick, but a professional headshot can really help you shine.
2. Your Credentials
LinkedIn doesn’t give you a place to put your credentials after your name. You can hack this problem by simply putting them after your name in the last name field. This way, they’ll show up right at the top of your profile where they belong.
3. Your Headline
Your headline is the area right below your photo and name. Rather than just “Registered Nurse at St. Mary’s Hospital”, why not say something that really describes you?
For example: “Seasoned nurse with extensive experience in ICU, trauma, and critical care,” or “Houston-based RN leader with career focus on quality improvement and nursing staff development.” These headlines tell us much more about the person behind the profile.
4. A Summary
Your professional summary is where the rubber hits the road. It’s recommended that your summary be in the first person. Talk about yourself, your strengths, your experiences, and what you bring to the table as a nurse. You can also mention opportunities you’re looking for and what kinds of professionals you’d like to meet.
The summary is like a love letter to visitors to your profile -- be warm and personal, but always professional.
5. Personalized URL
When you edit your public LinkedIn profile, you can create a personalized URL (web address). This is a form of personal branding, and allows you to showcase the fact that you’re savvy about LinkedIn.
Your personalized URL might look like this: LinkedIn.com/in/SusanJonesRN. This can look very nice on your resume, cover letters, letterhead, and business card.
You can copy and paste most of the information you need for this section of your LinkedIn profile right from your resume.
One difference between your resume and your LinkedIn profile is that you can say a lot more since you have no limits on space. Feel free to add more meat to the bones of the descriptions of your work experience and your areas of expertise and accomplishment.
If you’ve participated in research, held a seat on a committee, or otherwise been involved at work, make sure to describe your position and what was achieved by both you and the group.
An important aspect of LinkedIn is that your colleagues, professors, mentors, preceptors, managers, and supervisors can write recommendations about you right on your profile for everyone to see. These recommendations are a form of “social proof,” elevating you in the eyes of others.
LinkedIn recommendations show the world what others think of you. Connect with colleagues on LinkedIn and agree to write testimonials for one another.
LinkedIn is actually a very powerful search engine disguised as social media. Use keywords throughout your profile so that those terms work for you within the search engine. If you’re all about ICU, trauma, and critical care, make sure those terms show up repeatedly in your profile.
9. Skills and Endorsements
The skills and endorsements section of LinkedIn is important. This is where you choose what skills you’d like to be endorsed for. As you accumulate endorsements from other users for certain skills (for example, “nursing”, “Med-Surg”, or “ICU”), those keywords become more important for you in the LinkedIn search engine. This can help others find and connect with you more easily.
10. Make Connections
Making connections on LinkedIn will lead to more connections, and more connections can lead to more opportunities. Building a robust professional network is smart at any point in your nursing career. You can use LinkedIn to find your tribe of like-minded nurses and healthcare professionals.
LinkedIn is an essential tool for professional development. Getting your profile up to speed is only the beginning, but it’s the perfect place to begin upping your game on this popular platform.
Professional networking is lifelong. A strong LinkedIn profile will get you noticed, open the door to new professional relationships and opportunities, and enhance the forward movement of your nursing career.
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Keith Carlson, BSN, RN, NC-BC is a Board-Certified Nurse Coach, award-winning blogger, nurse podcaster, speaker, and author. Based in Sante Fe, New Mexico, Nurse Keith’s work has appeared in a variety of online and print publications.