LinkedIn: The de-facto standard for connecting with other industry professionals
LinkedIn is a popular tool in the professional world, used to connect professionally online, post one’s resume and professional accomplishments, and seek out new job opportunities. But how can medical professionals use the popular professional networking tool to advance their careers?
Well, doctors are just like anybody else – they switch jobs from time to time. The world (and the job opportunities for the educated in within it) is a wide open space, with plenty of opportunities for advancement, should it make sense.
Our grandfathers' model was to graduate high school, go to work for one company, and pick up a gold watch after 50 years of service. But more and more, that model is dying – employers are used to a certain level of transience as employees seek positions elsewhere. Studies have shown that this year’s college graduate will have, on average, a total of seven different careers during their working life.
While a graduate from medical school is likely to stay in their field (I seriously doubt that you as an ophthalmologist are going to quit your job and go work in human resources somewhere), they may still switch practices from time to time, or even venture out on their own.
That’s where LinkedIn can be incredibly useful…but only if it is utilized well. So, what is it useful for, and how can you leverage all the platform has to offer?
Useful for job updates
LinkedIn is built around one’s resume, and because of the changing landscape of the job market, updates to one’s resume are quite common. Building upon elements made popular by social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn allows for audiences (your “connections”) to see updates made to your resume, including new jobs, honors, publications, and items you choose to share, whether published works or interesting articles.
Especially in the professional world, it is surprising how much engagement LinkedIn posts see, and also surprising how many people see them. The most important thing a physician can do when publishing new research, changing jobs, or receiving awards is to publish them on LinkedIn - it educates your connections and informs them that you are on the move.
Useful to look for other jobs
LinkedIn is obviously useful for more than just sharing your resume - it is also an incredibly useful tool to look for other jobs and find connections who can assist in your search. Your connections are crucial here, as they are your ticket to getting introductions to people who may be able to help you find - or even offer you - a job.
If you are looking for a specialized position or a job within a certain practice, use the “Companies” feature on LinkedIn - there you can see how you are connected to that company, and ask for an introduction if you would like one.
Connecting on LinkedIn
There are lots of differing philosophies on LinkedIn connections, and its of different personalities that you’ll find on the network. They range from only connecting with those whom I know in real life and would feel comfortable asking for a favor or introduction (my own philosophy when using the network on a personal level) to the “I’m-going-to-connect-and-serially-network-with-everyone-I-meet” approach. Both are equally acceptable and equally useful in different scenarios - it all depends on what you use the network for.
Posts are often useful for longer content, like blog posts
When posting on LinkedIn, don’t be shy – feel free to post longer-form content, articles, scholarly work, and the like, but be careful to not post too much. Once a day, up to 3-4 times per week will often do the trick - posting too much more can make your connections a bit weary of what you have to say.
Industry and professional associations on LinkedIn are incredibly useful
One of the most useful (and underutilized) features of LinkedIn is that of industry and professional associations. They are featured at the bottom of one’s profile, so they don’t receive as much attention, but they are a valuable way of showing what professional and industry associations one belongs to and what they are involved in outside of their 9-5.
Overall, LinkedIn is a useful tool that has garnered much attention in professional settings but still remains relatively dormant in the medical world. The network represents a sizable opportunity for doctors to connect online, post their professional accomplishments, network, and look for opportunities should the need arise.