How to Make the Most Out of Your LinkedIn Profile

Who you are is what you post. You’re no stranger to the impact social media has on a personal brand. Just look at Donald Trump—the newest president practically built his political platform around his Twitter account. As a physician, you probably won’t reach the audience you need by tweeting your thoughts and slogans to the world, but you can reach potential employers another way. Hint: It starts with “Linked” and ends with “In.”

LinkedIn is arguably the most important platform for professionals of all types. What was once used mostly by professionals, LinkedIn has grown into a multi-faceted social media scape much like Facebook. While many bells and whistles have been added to LinkedIn over the years, its main use as a sort of online resume is still its most important asset, and as a physician on the job hunt, you should know how to effectively use it.

Beef up your profile with your successes

No one likes a Chatty Cathy who never stops talking about themselves. The tables turn when it comes to LinkedIn, however. Go to town—using your profile, tell prospective hospitals and health groups what kind of physician you are, what you’ve accomplished through med school, residency, etc., and what kind of doctor you hope to be going forward. There is one thing that you will want to focus on the most, though—your achievements.

Most people know to list the responsibilities they had at their previous job, but you can go a step further. Rather than describing each bedpan change and paperwork filing job you were expected to do, pinpoint the accomplishments you’re most proud of. Consider how you made a difference, where you had influence, or how you brought about change. Include experiences like suggesting more efficient ways to analyze labs and blood work or organizing study groups for Boards.

Know who your audience is

It’s a classic marketing misstep—you can spend all this time creating advertising and branding for a product or service, but if you don’t know your audience, then all of your hard work was for naught. In this case, the product is you, and the audience is the hospital or health group looking at your resumé.

One of the most integral parts of LinkedIn is networking. You want to connect with as many fellow physicians, medical thought leaders, and influential people as possible, but you don’t want to go on a random adding spree just to get your number of connections up. Make sure the connections you’re making are mutually beneficial. Are you looking for recruiters, researchers, or patients? Are you actively looking to join a health group, or do you just want to build your network?

Be aware of your target audience with each click of the “Connect” button. It’s okay to be a little vain on LinkedIn—think to yourself, “Will this person provide any benefit to my medical career?”

Make yourself searchable, but still personable

LinkedIn’s search engine runs on keywords, so it’s a great strategy to incorporate them when building your LinkedIn profile. In order to increase your chances of being seen by recruiters, use thoughtful keywords throughout your profile when you mention volunteer work, research opportunities, med school activities, and previous physician experiences. But wait, there’s more!

Instead of just blindly adding keywords to your profile, try searching for the job you want and then use the buzzwords you find in those listings. Then strategically add these keywords to your profile, this way your profile will rank higher in search results.

As a physician on the job hunt, you want to make sure you are telling your story—the path that led you to where you are today. Focus on writing a concise summary of yourself in the summary field and save the keywords for “specialties,” which appears as a subsection within the summary and can be changed when you click to edit your summary. This way, you’ll make a great first impression that leads into a solid, strategized list of specialties.

LinkedIn has made it easier than ever to put yourself out there to connect with people in your field. And, as a result, it has become even more important to pay attention to how you present yourself online as you search for jobs. Read more about how to leverage social media to advance your job search here.

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