Why LinkedIn is a Powerful Tool for Healthcare Professionals

Photo courtesy of George Dolgikh / Shutterstock.com

Did you know that over the past couple of years, the healthcare industry’s presence on LinkedIn has been increasing at a rapid rate?  In fact, at the end of 2013, LinkedIn recorded over 4.4 million healthcare professionals using the platform – a 30% increase from the year before!

Given this upward trend, it’s clear that many healthcare professionals consider LinkedIn to be a powerful resource – a belief that recruiters who work within The Execu|Search Group’s Health Services division share.  “If you work within the healthcare industry, LinkedIn is not only useful for job seekers,” says Allison Fagan, Managing Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Health Services division.  “It is also a networking platform that allows you to stay active within the industry, establish yourself as an expert in your field, and stay connected with colleagues.”

In other words, if you are a healthcare professional who isn’t on LinkedIn, now is the time to create a profile and start getting active.  Here are 5 reasons why:

 It’s more than just a resume

LinkedIn’s platform allows you to create a profile that goes well beyond just a resume.  It allows you to showcase your experience along with your skills, personality, and interests as well. “Rather than thinking of LinkedIn as an electronic version of your resume, think of it as a way to showcase your brand and who you are as both a professional and as a person,” advises Allison.  “The great thing about LinkedIn is that you have the freedom to elaborate on things that you may not have room for on your resume such as your career goals and your bio. “

To make sure you’re fully optimizing your profile, it’s important to always have a complete and professional profile that lists your degree and all of your specialties and sub-specialties.

It increases your visibility

Completing your profile with all your skills, experience, and credentials will increase your marketability, and will even increase your chances of being found by hiring managers and recruiters.  “The current shortage of healthcare professionals, specifically nurses, means there aren’t enough available applicants to fill open positions,” says Allison.  “As a result, hiring managers and recruiters are using sites such as LinkedIn to look for candidates who may not have applied to the job, but could be a good fit.”

To do this, hiring managers and recruiters search LinkedIn for certain skills, groups relevant to potential candidates, and other keywords.  Therefore, the more complete your profile is, the greater your chances of being informed of career opportunities that you wouldn’t have heard of otherwise.

For healthcare professionals who are not interested in new career opportunities, but who want to learn about opportunities to learn and grow in the industry, it’s also important to be active on LinkedIn, according to Samara Chopra, Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Healthcare division.  “There’s a common misconception amongst healthcare professionals that LinkedIn is only for job seeking.  However, if someone is looking for an expert on a specific healthcare topic, they’re going to want to see your LinkedIn profile to verify your credibility.”  Therefore, having a well-written LinkedIn profile will help you establish yourself as an expert in your area of specialization, and will help you add speaking engagements and other consulting opportunities to your repertoire.

It gives you the ability to research and follow medical facilities

The great thing about LinkedIn is that hospitals and other healthcare providers are now picking up on it as well.  Having the ability to follow healthcare organizations not only allows you to do more research on medical facilities that you are interested in working for, but also allows you to connect with colleagues at your current place of employment that you may not have much interaction with.  “Whether you are interested in new career opportunities, or you are interested in gaining experience within a different specialty or department at your current place of employment, it’s important to be on LinkedIn,” says Samara.

LinkedIn allows you to view current employees at any given company, and will often show you how you are connected to that person.  This will allow you to a) explore new opportunities in a different field, at your current employer (if interested), b) see if you have a mutual connection with a hiring manager you may be meeting with, who would be willing to make an introduction, and c) do research on the hiring manager to prep for your interview/meeting with them.

You can connect with industry peers

LinkedIn is also a great networking tool that can connect you with professionals in the same line of work or specialty.  For example, there are a number of healthcare groups on LinkedIn that you can join to become active amongst your industry peers.  In these groups, you can share your expertise, read other people’s thoughts, and connect with people that you find insightful.  Another benefit of making new connections is that once you connect, you gain access to your new connection’s network.

It helps you stay up-to-date with industry news and trends.

With new regulations and technologies affecting the healthcare industry on a regular basis, there is a lot of industry news to stay on top of.  “If you want to remain competitive in today’s job market, it’s important for you to stay up-to-date with industry trends,” says Allison. “To do this, I recommend joining and being an active participant in healthcare groups and subscribing to Healthcare LinkedIn Pulse articles.”  These groups and articles will provide you with the insight you need to know what skills are in demand and how to attain them.  This will help keep you relevant in today’s evolving healthcare landscape as well as inform you about new areas for growth, such as behavioral health and telehealth.

Photo courtesy of George Dolgikh / Shutterstock.com