10 Tips for a Strong LinkedIn Profile
Posted: September 29, 2015 by Sarah Leavitt in Careers & Credentials
A well-functioning LinkedIn profile can do awesome things for a nurse, like help you find and land that dream job no matter what career stage you’re in. Or show you what nursing roles are like in other parts of the country or world. Or help you connect with others for better insight, resources and sense of community. But how do you write a profile that’s really top-notch?
Here are some tips for optimizing your professional image:
- Make it personal. Your LinkedIn page is different from a formal resume, so it shouldn’t be dry or boring. Your picture should be clear, recent, of you only and representative of your professional self. That doesn’t mean you have to be wearing scrubs. But it does mean you shouldn’t put up a snapshot of yourself in a string bikini drinking a beer. Your profile pic projects how you want to be seen by both current and future employers, as well as patients.
- Don’t use formal language. You don’t have to write in slang (refrain from “LOL!” for example) but be conversational and above all, clear. Use the first person, too (I’ve led three teams…), so that it doesn’t sound impersonal. Simplify whenever possible — you want to make it easy for someone to scan your profile and quickly get a good sense of you and your skills.
- Think about your personal brand. What do you want someone to remember about you? What are three or five top takeaways you’d like viewers to have about you and your career? Once you’ve identified key points, make sure you’re repeating them throughout your profile. For example, if you manage other nurses and want your leadership skills to be a selling point, be sure to reiterate them in different ways. You should mention them in your summary, and again in specific skills and achievements in your job history.
- Use keywords. Many hiring organizations and recruiters use keyword scanners that pick out the phrases or words they’re looking for. Think about which words communicate best your skills as a nurse — are you highly collaborative? Thoughtful? Do you teach, and have leadership skills? You can use keywords like these to really emphasize your selling points in your profile.
- Don’t skimp on your volunteer or other professional activities. Are you spearheading a group to improve processes in your clinic? List it. LinkedIn is for the world to get a better sense of you professionally, including how you go above and beyond your role.
- Use other nurses for inspiration. Check out other nurses, nursing managers and nursing education professionals to see what works about their profiles. And take note of what makes other nursing profiles confusing or seem unprofessional and make sure you’re not making the same mistakes.
- Make use of nursing groups. There are the known national ones, but you should also look for alumni groups from your nursing program or groups that are for your specific area of nursing. The site’s search tool has a “groups” feature that makes it easy to filter and search just groups.
- Utilize your school’s LinkedIn page. This is especially helpful for nurses who are just getting started. Your school’s LinkedIn page has contacts and job and internship postings. And don’t be afraid to reach out and connect with those who are in your alumni network.
- Don’t set it and forget it. As a nurse, your working world is constantly changing, and you’re taking on new challenges every day. Your profile should reflect new skills and activities. Check on it and make updates at least every month.
- Be careful what you post. Never post about patient information, or anything that could violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). And even if you’re on LinkedIn explicitly to look for a new gig because you hate your current one, be very discreet. Use your privacy controls wisely and don’t broadcast why you’re there by complaining publicly. Assume everything you do is public. Not only are recruiters looking closely at your profile, but your current employer may be watching, too.
- Cheryl Conner, "Five LinkedIn Strategies You Haven’t Thought Of Before," Forbes
- Rick Docksai, "Working—and Networking—Your Way to a Job in Nursing Using Social Media & Available Tools," NursingLicensure.org
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