Having a great LinkedIn profile is a must for every professional nowadays. What better way to let people know of your skills and your achievements? If you can condense everything into a tidy online CV, chances are you might get a job faster because of it.
LinkedIn profiles are especially useful for NP students. In previous posts we talked about how LinkedIn can help you find a preceptor, so now is the time to start crafting a good profile.
This social media platform has been growing exponentially every year since its inception. They now have about 690 million registered users (more than Twitter!). Does anyone remember the time when they used to bombard people with unwanted emails to sign up? Me neither. That’s how useful and relevant they’ve become.
What a nurse should have on their LinkedIn profile
1. The profile picture
Let’s start with the basics. The one thing many people fail to do correctly on LinkedIn is uploading a good profile picture. Smartphones might take a relatively sharp, good selfie, but that’s not what you need.
Forget the selfie and go find someone to take the photo for you. If you don’t have access to a professional photographer (thanks, COVID-19), a friend or family member will do just fine. The main idea is to show just your head (up to your collarbones). You can go as far as the waist for a profile picture, but don’t show your whole body.
Remember to smile (with or without teeth) and make your face as visible as possible. Choose a plain background (like a white wall) and wear something that makes you look more professional. Many healthcare workers choose to wear their scrubs!
Another thing people do sometimes is upload one of their graduation photos. That’s great. We bet you look good in them! These photos are acceptable as long as they don’t make it harder for profile viewers to see your face.
2. Your name (and credentials)
One thing that LinkedIn does not offer is a place to put your credentials. NPs can work around this by putting them alongside their name in the “Name” field.
You should put your full name in that field, no nicknames or missing last names. LinkedIn counts as social media, but it is social media for professionals. There are no usernames, don’t forget that.
To put your credentials beside your name correctly, you should start with your highest degree earned, your licensure, national certifications, and then other additional titles. This order is customary for nurses in the US.
If you do this correctly, your credentials will appear at the top of your profile and will be visible to everyone.
3. Banner photo and headline
It’s always good to have a good banner photo. That’s the big one that goes above your profile picture. The header photo is not too important when it comes to finding a job, but it can make your profile stand out from the rest.
Let’s talk about the headline now. LinkedIn, by default, fills out this field with your position and place of work. You can edit it to show your expertise and your specialty. You already have your credentials, yes, but this will be a way to make them stand out even more.
The headline is the place where people show their skills, awards, and recognitions. You can include these if you want to or save them for the summary. The one thing you should not do is just writing “Nurse Practitioner” or “Registered Nurse,” for example.
Below the headline you will also find your location. Don’t forget to include it! This little addition will do wonders for your profile, enabling recruiters and employers to find you more easily.
4. Summary and experience
Now is your time to shine! The summary goes below Headline and acts like a micro resume. Here you can talk about what separates you from other RNs or NPs, or what you think are your best qualities.
Summaries are also important to tell prospective employers about your goals. Showcasing where you want to be in the future will show them that you have your priorities in check. It’s always good to see someone that’s ready and willing to advance in their career.
You shouldn’t just write the first thing that comes to your mind. Open the notepad and draft a summary that showcases your clinical skills and experience. Write everything down and then edit your sentences to make them shorter.
Walls of text only work when it comes to blog posts and similar content. We get a pass, but you don’t! LinkedIn will only display the two first lines of your summary. The rest will be hidden with a “read more” button. Keep that in mind!
The next thing to take into consideration is your job experience. Many people make the mistake of just adding job positions to their profiles with regular job titles and leaving it at that. Describe what you went through: your achievements, your responsibilities, how many patients you saw a day, etc.
Remember to also check the location of the places you worked at, as well as trying to find them on LinkedIn. There’s nothing wrong with just putting their names on the description. However, if they are on LinkedIn, and you include them, that will give you even more credibility.
5. Other sections on your LinkedIn profile
Projects: Showcase what you have done while studying (or professionally) like research papers, community service, etc. Many people skip over this section. If you have some nice projects to show, you will probably rank higher in search results.
Skills and endorsements: LinkedIn allows you to input the skills that you want to be recognized for. You can also have other people “endorse” you for those skills. Include them in your profile and ask your colleagues and patients to give you endorsements.
Connections: LinkedIn is all about networking, and great networking is strategic. Don’t just accept everyone that wants to connect with you. Be proactive and choose which connections matter and which might not matter so much.
Use LinkedIn’s search engine to look for people that you want to connect with. If you don’t see the “connect” button on someone’s profile, there’s a chance they might have hidden it. You can still find it by clicking on the arrow beside the “follow” button.
Personalized URL: Creating your own URL will make your profile easier to share with other people. It doesn’t take more than a minute and you can include your credentials to make it look better. Include this link on your resume, cover letter, etc.
Recommendations and accomplishments: LinkedIn also has a section of your profile where people can recommend your services. It will do your profile a lot of good if you can get some of your colleagues (who would have to have their own LinkedIn profile) to leave a review.
Accomplishments include additional certifications, courses, awards, the languages you speak, and others. Don’t leave them blank. We’re sure you have something to put in there.
Don’t rush through your LinkedIn profile and its sections. You should invest time into making everything tidy, organized, and professional. That can take more than just a few hours. You’ll feel great once it’s complete!
Also, if you missed something, LinkedIn will help you through their profile strength meter, which gives your profile a score based on how complete it is.
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