The record shows that I have been a member of LinkedIn since 2010. This makes LinkedIn one of the longest serving social network that I have been a member of. LinkedIn started in 2002. That's before Facebook (2004) which I have joined (before LinkedIn) and left a few times.
Now I confess for significant parts of the past 9 years my LinkedIn profile got little attention. But I always saw the sense in keeping it. As a seasoned medical practitioner, past health executive and someone with decades of expertise in Medical HR I have come to view LinkedIn as a valuable and underrated social media platform and essential to my own career and a valuable tool for the careers of other doctors.
Doctors should use LinkedIn for Jobs because:
- LinkedIn is generally accepted to be the social media platform for professionals.
- Employers now look on Google to check information about doctor job candidates. LinkedIn profiles rank highly in Google.
- Health employers are now starting to incorporate LinkedIn as part of their advertising and candidate identification strategy. So potentially not being on LinkedIn means you could miss out on a doctor job that would have been to your liking.
If none of that convinces you that LinkedIn is for doctors. Then consider this I have recently been getting approached by other doctors to help them with their LinkedIn profiles. These are doctors who never saw the value of the platform before and are generally not on many other social media platforms. Something must be up.
But wait there's more. LinkedIn has other uses and if used properly can help you in other ways in your career.
Some of the other reasons why as a medical professional you should consider renewing your LinkedIn or starting a LinkedIn profile are:
1. LinkedIn is a great place for keeping all your career information.
Possibly the number one reason I like LinkedIn is that over time I have accumulated a lot of achievements in my career and LinkedIn is the vehicle by which I store these. For me. LinkedIn beats having to store multiple versions of your CV on your computer or dropbox and then going back over each of them the next time you need to submit your CV.
I always revise my CV each time I am asked to submit it. Which at the moment is about 10 times a year for various consultancy work and Board positions etc… LinkedIn is often my source of inspiration for when I get stuck with highlighting a certain skill or criteria.
2. LinkedIn for doctors is a great tool for controlling your online social presence and reputation.
LinkedIn profiles have high authority with Google and rank well on search. Just Google your name if you are on LinkedIn or someone else you know who is and you will see what I mean.
As a doctor you may not be concerned about your Google Search. But be aware that there are now a number of doctor review sites around where patients can express their opinion about you. And you won't even know about it if you don't go looking for it. Now you can spend time joining some of these sites and “claiming your profile” as well as establishing an active online presence. You can even develop your own authoritative website if you like. But that takes time. As Kevin.MD points out LinkedIn is not perfect but its a low risk, potentially low resource, high-yield action that you can take to protect your online presence.
With LinkedIn its still currently very easy to distinguish yourself from other doctors just by completing all of your profile. Most doctors just don’t bother to do it right which is good for you and bad for them.
3. LinkedIn Is Great For Building Strong Networks With Other Doctors As Well As Other Professionals.
We all know the saying “Its not what you know but who you know”. LinkedIn was built with that proposition in mind. And that’s an incredibly intriguing proposition for doctors who have taken years to memorize medical information. If you don’t have a great network yet, Linkedin is the best place to start. Doctors on Linkedin are generally very easy to connect with, even the experts. Especially, if you contact them in a genuine and non-spammy way, you’ll probably be able to add them to your network. This is something you could not have done a few decades ago.
4. LinkedIn Can Help In Creating A Personal Brand.
LinkedIn allows you to tell the rest of the medical world and others how exactly you see yourself. But this requires thought and activity. So if you don't feel you have the time or need for this particular point feel free to skip to the next.
Personal branding is about building a reputation, authority and trust about you as a professonal. You are attempting to influence what people think about your when they see your content in a newsfeed or message. Will they click on the link you shared? Will they check out other people in your network and ask to connect with them as well?
The key success factor when building a personal brand is to create valuable content for your connections. You can do this by creating content yourself or just curating interesting information.
5. Doctors Can Use LinkedIn to Establish A Name As A Speaker Advisor Or Authority.
Doctors can sometimes earn additional income from speaking engagements or gain valuable connections or leads. If your name and face come up a lot in their newsfeed next to valuable information, you’ll be perceived as a trusted expert who might be asked to speak or review something.
6. Getting Relevant Information.
With regular use Linkedin becomes better at deciding what information might be relevant for you. They look at the keywords in your profile, your groups and your connections in order to decide what content to show. They are also more choosy than facebook about how much unsolicited content to show. So it doesn't feel like you are constantly bombarded. About once a week I find a really interesting headline that leads me to a nice in-depth article on a topic of interest.
7. Getting Advice On LinkedIn From Other Doctors
Imagine you are thinking of applying for a new job at a hospital you are unfamiliar with but you don’t know if it's a good idea. When the hospital says that the roster is normally one in five at full staffing do they actually mean it and how often are they fully staffed? LinkedIn can connect you with people currently working in this hospital who can clarify your questions. There are lots of situations I can think of where you could use Linkedin in order to get advice from someone who’s already undertaken the experience you are considering.
8. Being Found Online
These days it’s critical to be found on Google. Every day, thousands of patients, recruiters, industry professionals and students are looking for your services. So why make it difficult for them to find you? Google loves Linkedin – if you complete your profile and stuff it with the right keywords, you will not only be found when people are searching your name but also when they are searching for your specialty.
9. Landing Your Dream Job
This is probably the most obvious reasons for being on LinkedIn. Even if you are not a very active participant and get slightly annoyed by being spammed occasionally. Linkedin can be a great place to look for a new job when you need it. Traditionally doctor jobs are not be posted in the regular jobs section on Linkedin. However that's changing. And if you are particularly looking for a creative or non-traditional career path. Whether that be a side gig or a permanent transition then LinkedIn will be a useful source of information for you. In addition, you can join groups targeting your specialty. There’s usually a job discussion section in these groups. There may be tips on the interviews or even early leads on job opportunities. For e.g. you might find out that a Neurosurgery Registrar has just left Hospital X early, leaving a sudden vacancy. Have a look there, then look who posted the job and connect with them.
7 Ways to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile As a Doctor
1. Upload a current, professional profile photo.
Profiles that include a photo are estimate do be more than 10 times more likely to be viewed. Or to put it another way. Not having a profile picture seems weird and is often equated to an incomplete profile. So get a photo. And yes I know that this is completely the opposite of the advice that I give about CVs. But its social media.
2. Be active on the platform.
Active profiles get more attention on LinkedIn. You can be active by joining and commenting on groups and occasionally posting your thoughts on a topic. You can use LinkedIn as a form of blog or you can link your existing blog to LinkedIn
3. Claim your LinkedIn tag.
Create a unique URL. This will make your LinkedIn profile appear unique and give the impression that you have taken the time to establish your brand (For example my LinkedIn is linkedin.com/in/drallewellyn). A custom URL makes your profile more professional and it also allows you to add a nice looking link to your business cards and CV or resume.
4. Use a customized headline.
If you don't then each time you change jobs, LinkedIn makes your headline your your updated title (if you remember to update it). Think about using keywords that you want employers to find you for in your headline either on LinkedIn or Google. The headline of LinkedIn is important for Google search.
5. Keep your contact information up to date.
It’s simple, but oftentimes overlooked. Check the contact information section of your profile. Somethings on your LinkedIn profile are only visible to your connections. But contacts are visible to everyone.
6. Don't share any contact information you’d prefer to keep private.
Its not kept private by LinkedIn.
7. Don't forget to update your work profile when you change jobs.
Don't be that person that everyone congratulates on their 12 year anniversary in a job they left 8 years ago.
8. Make your summary personal.
This is a bit like your Career Goal Summary but with a bit more individual flair and passion to intrigue readers.
9. Fill out your profile as completely as possible.
There's a reason why LinkedIn keeps nagging you to complete your profile. It improves your search on the platform. Also, as I've pointed out already, Linkedin then becomes a repository of all your career information for you to draw upon the next time your revise your CV or resume. Completing your profile can be a big task. But you don't need to do it all at once. Just chip away at it over time.
So Why Don't Doctors Join LinkedIn?
Most established doctors (we are talking specialists here) have until this time lived and worked in relatively small, geographically defined locations without having to shift too much in their careers. They have managed to be successful through word of mouth and connections. The average Consultant felt that they had no need to sell themselves beyond this local market.
It has also been generally held that doctors of a certain type are relatively similar in their skill sets (but not in their skill). For example what an orthopaedic surgeon does in Newcastle, NSW is likely to be similar to what one does in Perth, Western Australia.
Patients up until recent have had little insight into the quality of doctors and still struggle with what the economists call “consumer sovereignty”, which is the ability of a consumer to use their own knowledge to evaluate the cost of a product or service in a market.
But this is all changing. For one thing trainee doctors generally move around quite a bit and have to land several jobs before they are able to “settle down”. Patients are now getting access to insight and information about doctors through health review sites and there's a lot more consumer sovereignty available now through Dr Google. Experienced clinicians are attempting to brand themselves in niches of medicine. And general practitioners are more regularly now referring to the internet with referring to a specialist.
In addition to the above many doctors may feel that their presence on LinkedIn serves very little direct benefit. As Dr Howard Luks points out he probably has not had very many patients come to him from LinkedIn and a lot of the contacts he has had have been nuisances. However, this is not the experience of every doctor and Howard himself balances out this problem by referring to the utility for LinkedIn to be a protector of online reputation.
What Benefits Have I seen From Being on LinkedIn?
Whilst I used to treat LinkedIn as a bit of a passive place to park my career profile. I have experienced more quality connections on the platform by being an active user. This has included interesting job referrals, connections to like-minded doctors across the world and clients and other opportunities and leads. Yes. You still get some annoying messages. Mainly from locum agencies. Which really wouldn't be annoying if I was looking for a locum. But honestly we are talking once a week at best.
Related Questions About LinkedIn For Medical Professionals
How much time do I need to devote to LinkedIn as a Doctor?
Most LinkedIn users spend less than an hour a week on LinkedIn. But there are significant periods where they may be more active, for example, when looking for their next job opportunity. As I have pointed out above, LinkedIn is extremely useful if you want an online presence that you control but don't have to spend a lot of time on.
It is however important to regularly review your LinkedIn profile. So you can't completely forget about it. Otherwise when an employer looks you up and sees that LinkedIn says you are still working in the job you were doing in 2008 when your CV says otherwise they will probably think you are sloppy.
As a Medical Professional, Can't I just use other social media platforms like Facebook?
LinkedIn is a bit different from the other social media platforms. For sure as Facebook has grown-up along with its audience its taken on a more “adult” look. But LinkedIn is still a more business like and less “social” platform than Facebook’s friends, groups and pages model.
You can't really effectively record your CV on Facebook as comprehensively as you can on LinkedIn. And let's face it the opportunities to be spammed and waste time are far higher on Facebook than LinkedIn.
From a marketing perspective, LinkedIn also have some value. Because one of its primary purposes is for being visible among and connecting with fellow professionals, including other health professionals.
Are there any alternatives to LinkedIn?
There have been attempts to set up social networks just for doctors, such as Doximity (haven't used this) and SERMO (joined and found there to be no real community and no value). But given their narrow focus and LinkedIn's edge in terms of being established in 2002 these platforms have struggled to be adopted.
I hope that by now I have convinced you that Linkedin is a great place to start your social media career as a doctor. Let me know how you have used Linkedin to your advantage in the comments section.