Make the most out of this growing online community
LinkedIn is a useful networking tool for people in all careers. There are resources for nearly every career field you can imagine, whether you are in business, the arts, healthcare, nursing, education, information technology, hospitality, or human services.
This article will focus on suggestions for the nursing community and how you can make LinkedIn work for you. To begin, make sure you have a created a strong profile that you are proud to share with others. Then you are ready to begin!
1. Make Connections
It’s easy to reach out to people on LinkedIn. Search for people you know, and when you find their profiles, you simply click on Send an InMail/Connect. Start connecting with people who may share career interests that are similar to your own.
Who should you connect with? Try to find other practical nurses or nursing assistants (or whatever type of nurse you are). Look for instructors or other mentors you have had. Accept invitations from people who want to connect with you. Being connected with at least 50 people helps your profile look stronger to prospective employers. Note that LinkedIn is meant for connecting with people you already know, or making connections to new people through someone you know in common.
2. Follow companies
Under the “Interests” tab, you can follow companies. If you are already working in a nursing position, follow the organization where you work. It’s interesting to see the articles they may post and the job positions that open up. Or, for example, if you are looking for a practical nursing job, you might want to follow organizations where you hope to work. It’s a good way to learn of job openings, and simply to learn more about healthcare organizations in your region.
3. Join groups
If you look under the “Interests” tab, you can join groups. Search for your career field, such as “practical nurse” or “nursing assistant,” and see what groups come up. For instance, there is a Certified Nursing Assistant Job Board group that you could join, as well as a Practical Nurse Forum. LinkedIn will also suggest groups for you to join. These groups could not only help lead you to a job opening, but they can also keep you informed of your industry’s news throughout your career. Groups are also good for meeting new people that you don’t already know, and perhaps connecting with them in the future.
4. Be active: post articles
Similar to Facebook and other social media sites, you can post articles to LinkedIn. If you find articles related to the field of nursing that are interesting to you, you can post them. This helps to share information with others in your network, and it also shows others that you care about your career field.
5. Endorse others
LinkedIn has an “endorse” feature which is meant to highlight people’s career skills. LinkedIn will show you your connections, and ask you if you want to endorse them for something. It only takes the click of a button. Only endorse someone if you know they have this particular skill. If you just endorse people indiscriminately, the endorsements won’t be meaningful.
6. Recommend others
Recommendations are more personalized than endorsements. They provide more detail about the strengths of that person. You can recommend someone in your network under Send a Message/Recommend. Be sure to be honest in your assessment of the person, listing their positive traits in a professional way. This is a generous thing to do for others in your field, and they may in turn recommend you.
7. Ask others for help
If you are looking for a job, it can be helpful to have endorsements and written recommendations on your LinkedIn page. Ask a mentor, instructor, classmate, or Career Services advisor to write a recommendation on your LinkedIn profile. Prospective employers will be impressed if you have positive recommendations.
8. Set up Job Alerts
If you are using LinkedIn to look for jobs, do yourself a favor and set up an automatic job alert. You can specify keywords, location, salary, and company size. With your alert set up, LinkedIn will email you when new jobs in your field are posted.
With these tips, we hope you make the most out of your LinkedIn network. LinkedIn can be useful to you throughout your entire career—not just when you are looking for a job. Keep your profile updated, and visit LinkedIn often to see what you can learn about your career field.