LinkedIn is the top social media platform recruiters use to search for, contact, and vet candidates. Of the 78 percent of recruiters who have hired through social media, 95 percent used LinkedIn to check candidates’ professional experience, specific skills, and tenure. Only 32 percent used Facebook, according to Jobvite’s 2015 Recruiter Nation Survey.1
Here are 10 tips that nursing graduates can use to network their way to great jobs:
- Hone your connections.2 Typically, only about 10 percent of your connections are useful. Bring that figure to 50 percent by conducting a LinkedIn people search to identify possible allies. Connect with these people to network and learn information about their organizations that will help customize your resume and cover letter.
- Contribute to professional groups. Participate in LinkedIn discussion groups to enhance your professional presence. This also helps recruiters gain a better sense of who you are.
- Update your resume. Add relevant responsibilities, skills, and classes and post it on LinkedIn so recruiters can find you more easily. Also ask allies to recommend you for specific skills.
- Update your LinkedIn profile. Recruiters view content relating to volunteer work, professional skills, and social engagement favorably. Here are some examples to include, speeches you’ve delivered to local civic groups, health fairs you’ve staffed, and other similar activities. When updating your profile make sure to use a spell-checker. More than 70 percent of recruiters respond negatively to errors in spelling and grammar, according to the Jobvite survey.
- Use keywords. Online search engines rely on keywords to narrow the field of potential candidates by searching for terms like “certification,” “clinical research,” or “trained.” In your profile and in your resume, incorporate the keywords that accurately reflect your nursing and healthcare skills and that recruiters are most likely to search for.
- Make your profile friendly but not too personal. Take a clear, conversational tone in your LinkedIn profile that avoids slang. Write your profile in first person, saying, for example, “I led the team to …” Make it easy for recruiters to quickly scan your profile and glean relevant information. Also include a clear, recent picture—but not a selfie. A head-and-shoulders shot is ideal.
- Develop a personal brand. Determine the top three to five things you want prospective employers to remember about you. Find multiple ways to emphasize those things throughout your profile and resume as you summarize your career and list your achievements.
- Mine your statistics. Linkedin will notify you if your profile has been viewed. To increase your number of profile views, you can add in some keywords you use on your resume to get more exposure online.
- Use your alumni and professional groups. Use LinkedIn’s Groups feature to join alumni or specialty groups for your specific area of nursing. Also be active in your nursing school’s LinkedIn page. This site typically will list jobs and internships and will help you connect to other alumni.
- Be discreet. If you’re already employed, don’t broadcast that you’re searching for a new job because employers also check LinkedIn and other social media.
Never criticize current or former employers. Post only photos that present yourself positively—avoid photos of yourself drinking or smoking.