LinkedIn for therapists
What is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is the largest online social network for professionals, boasting 39 million members from 170 industries. Members of LinkedIn can search the network to find and connect with past and present colleagues, former classmates and professors, friends and family, casual acquaintances, neighbors, etc. A member's network not only includes direct connections, but also makes note of secondary and tertiary connections. As you start to engage in healthcare networking, you'll discover your "connections" increasing exponentially.
The value of online social networking is in the visibility of connections. Without this transparency, it could potentially take you months or years to discover that your friend from Pilates went to college with the hiring manager at the hospital of your dreams. In fact, you may never find out because your friend could have no idea where her old roommate is working these days. But if you're all on LinkedIn, you're bound to discover the connection.
One way to uncover important connections is to periodically view your friends' contacts. You'll see a list of names with current job titles and companies, and with a quick glance you'll know if anyone in your friend's network is currently working for a recruiter or health facility that interests you.
Another way to discover valuable connections is to view a company's profile. In addition to finding out if that facility is hiring, you'll see a list of current and former employees, as well as new hires. If you've established a thorough network on the site, chances are you'll notice a light blue number next to one or more of the names listed. This number indicates that the employee is in your extended network. Click on the employee's name to view exactly how you are connected to this person.
Once you discover that one of your primary connections knows someone you'd like to meet, it's easy to ask for an introduction. Your friend from Pilates may not have spoken to her old roommate in years, but chances are, she won't mind introducing you via LinkedIn – after all, it's only an email. It's not like she has to arrange for the three of you to have coffee. The days of face-to-face networking – well, who has time for that?
Of course, there are other ways to make connections on LinkedIn. You can send a direct invitation to any of LinkedIn's 39 million members, regardless of the connections you have in common. They will then decide whether or not to accept your invitation. Your chances of connecting will increase substantially if you can establish what the two of you have in common. One way to do this would be to join a group with the professionals you'd like to meet. A quick search of the group directory using the keyword "therapy" returns over 200 groups. Simply request to join, and then start making connections.
It's important to remember that while you're searching for connections and opportunities on LinkedIn, opportunities could be searching for you. Recruiters and hiring managers often reach out to their LinkedIn networks when looking to fill a position, or they may simply perform a search of LinkedIn profiles using keywords to describe the position they need to fill. For this reason, it's important to ensure that your profile is complete and accurately reflects your experience in place of a resume.
As a therapist, healthcare networking is the easiest and most efficient way to stay connected to the many therapy professionals you meet as you move through your career. LinkedIn is the new way to network, and you never know when someone from your past can help you with your future!
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