5 key tips to jump start your LinkedIn profile!

Border

When you think about networking on LinkedIn do you feel a bit of dread?

Would you prefer to not have to put yourself out there?

Does sorting colored pencils sound like more fun?

If so, you’re in good company.

As a physician, most of you have not needed to be on LinkedIn.

But as the Bob Dylan song goes, “The times are a changin’.”

With over 575 million members LinkedIn is the number one networking site for professionals – and it’s becoming quite the thing. You can hardly swing a hula hoop without running into someone talking about LinkedIn.

People are using LinkedIn for activities such as:

Networking
Job hunting
Nonclinical career transition
Recruiting
Business promotion
Establishing a platform/being a thought leader

In this blog we’re diving into 5 key tips to jump-start your LinkedIn profile and have it work FOR you. 

Next week I’ll follow up with some advice on how to reach out to people on LinkedIn who can help you.

And actually have them respond!

Here are the 5 tips to jump-start your LinkedIn profile:

One – Personalize your profile with a banner photo

By default, your banner photo on LinkedIn is the blue rectangle at the top of your profile that has your headshot in the far left corner.

 You can customize your banner photo. This is the blue rectangle that is at the very top of your profile.

On mine, I have Texas wildflowers.

You can upload a photo that is simply a nice backdrop, or it can have a specific theme that goes with your professional intent.

I like finding free photos on Pixabay.

Two – Customize your headline

 The headline is under your name and by default, LinkedIn populates this with your job title and company name. The limit is 120 characters.

Ideally, you want to customize your headline by including keywords that will help those you want to attract, such as recruiters and others in your desired area find you. These words are keyword searchable.

If you have a side gig such as chart review, medical writing, or being an expert witness, you can put these words in your headline and help recruiters find you.

I was talking with one of my physician friends about her profile and as a result, she made a few changes in her headline and within hours several recruiters were contacting her!

It was like Shazam!

Three – About section

Make sure not to skip this part. The About section is a great way to let others get to know you and understand your goals for LinkedIn.

Think about if you were writing an online dating profile.

In a dating profile, you want to succinctly portray who you are in a memorable way and attract a very specific kind of person.

With millions of members on LinkedIn, you aren’t trying to attract everyone.

Think about what you could write about yourself that would appeal to the kind of people you’d like to have in your network.

Consider including the following:

  • Who you are
  • What you do –or the area you want to transition into
  • A call to action

The call to action will vary depending on your goals. If you are wanting to transition to a different sector, you can welcome people in that area to reach out to you and connect.

If you are wanting to grow a side gig or a business, you can invite people to reach out to you and include your website address.

Some people post short videos, podcast interviews or other content here.

I like an About section written in the first person that is not too long (100 – 300 words), with some white space.

Four – Skills Section

This is a great section to include skills that recruiters could be searching on such as “utilization review,” “informatics,” or “medical consulting.

If you’re applying for a job, make sure to include skills listed in the job description (if you have them).

One of the cool things is that you can write in any skill that you want. Just to try this out, I put in “bungee jumping” on my skill list.

Yes – it’s on my skill list. Now I better find some bungees and start jumping.

Another cool thing is that your contacts on LinkedIn will endorse you for the skills they know you have. This helps build your credibility and gain recognition.

Recruiters are searching on these skills and could very easily find you just from this section.

Five – Adding Contacts

People often ask, so who should I connect with?

First of all, you don’t need to worry about going over the limit anytime soon. LinkedIn allows you to have 30,000 first degree connections.
A good start is to aim for 150 contacts and work up to 500+.  Here is where LinkedIn becomes a Rolodex on steroids.

When you connect with one person, their 1st and 2nd degree contacts (think friends and friends of friends) become your 2nd and 3rd degree connections. Very quickly you can have hundreds of thousands of people to reach out.

Your goals on LinkedIn will determine who you want to add to your own network.

I connect mostly with physicians in both clinical and nonclinical areas, as well as recruiters.  But I’m pretty open if someone seems like they would be a good connection.

Depending on what your interests are, for example, Pharma, public health, or informatics, you would search on and connect with people in these respective areas.

Because you also never know who knows who, connecting with other physicians, in general,  is often a good strategy unless you are transitioning to something completely unrelated to healthcare.

Bonus tip – there are a lot of customizable privacy settings you can set as to what information is shown on your profile and who sees what.  Click on your me icon, go to Account> Privacy Settings.

That’s all for now! Please feel free to reach out and connect with me on LinkedIn!

Next week I’ll be back with how to message and reach out to people who can help you.

Heather

Latest Posts

Find what you're looking for:

Heather Fork

8 Comments

  1. Yasmine S. Ali, MD on October 31, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    Love this, Heather–so helpful! Every time I have taken the time to improve my profile on LinkedIn, it has paid off, both in getting the attention of recruiters and others looking to connect with potential job opportunities, and in gaining more connections/networking among colleagues.

    • Heather Fork on October 31, 2019 at 6:53 pm

      Thank you Yasmine! I really appreciate your sharing your own positive experience in customizing your profile. It is always helpful and encouraging to hear from those like yourself who have seen results from making strategic changes. The nice think about LinkedIn, is that it only takes a few minutes to tweak your profile and then you get to see what happens downstream. Wishing you continued success with your career and networking.

  2. Greg Gatchell on November 2, 2019 at 9:12 pm

    Very helpful – I just updated my Linked In page.

    • Heather Fork on November 5, 2019 at 5:06 am

      Thank you very much! I’m so glad the information was helpful to you. Kudos to you for putting the tips into practice and updating your profile. I hope it works well for you.

  3. priya sharma on November 4, 2019 at 11:52 am

    Hii .. As far as I believethat LinkedIn network is one of your most valuable business assets. Therefore, you should add people to your LinkedIn network very strategically. But people change and circumstances change, and occasionally you may find it necessary to remove someone from your network.

    • Heather Fork on November 5, 2019 at 5:07 am

      Yes, things can change. Hopefully it is not too often you have to remove someone from your profile. I think this is pretty rare.

  4. Steven Powell on November 10, 2019 at 6:32 pm

    Thanks for advice, Heather. Really well done: short, to the point but with a lot of substance. I was able to make some significant changes to my site!

    • Heather Fork on November 10, 2019 at 8:01 pm

      Fantastic! I was hoping that these tips would be relatively quick/easy to implement. I appreciate your taking the time to let me know that you were able to use the information for your own profile! Thank you, Steven. I wish you all the best with your networking and career.

Leave a Comment





Doctors-Crossing-Physicians-Insider-Guide (1)

GetThe Physician's Insider Guide

15 of the most common FAQs on physician career transition

Sign up below to get the resource to jump-start your career transformation! You will also receive the latest blogs and updates from Heather.

Tim O

The coaching I have had with you has been life changing."

You helped me find the courage to seek out leadership positions and become a medical director as well as a physician advisor. I am grateful we crossed paths and am a different person because of it. You have inspired me to "believe" in spite of my inner skeptic. I consider you one of my most important mentors and am proud to also call you a friend. This says a lot given the apprehension I felt when I took a chance with our first coaching session. Even though I have already made a successful transition, I still value your ongoing mentorship and can enthusiastically attest that the value of your services is tremendous!

- Tim Owolabi, MD

Family Medicine
Lynette Charity

“I was at a crossroads in my medical career. I asked myself, "Do I stay or do I go?" 

I met Heather at the SEAK conference. She and I revisited this question.  Did I want to quit being medicine completely? She helped me to identify my needs, wants, and my vision for my FUTURE, not just in medicine, but in life!!!

She was able to listen to my "ramblings" about becoming a stand-up comic, lounge singer and voice-over actor and translate them into action steps.  I chose to become a composite of all of these. Now I am a more confident, healthier, happier person. I credit this in its entirety to the tutelage I have received and continue to receive from Heather.  She cares. She listens. She was there for ME.  She will be there for YOU!

- Lynette Charity, MD

Anesthesiologist
Gail Miller

“I am forever grateful to Heather for helping me to recognize, I am more than just my M.D." 

Heather helped me understand that I am more than just a doctor and that my experiences in clinical medicine are valuable in so many arenas.  As a result I realized that there are other ways to use my background, still be able to help people and continue to challenge myself and grow.  To that end I discovered coaching - specifically health coaching.  I am on my journey becoming a health coach and truly loving it!

- Gail Miller, MD

OB/Gyn physician
Steve

“Thank you, Heather, for helping me transform my career, my faith and my life."

What started out as an initial thirty-minute consultation call turned into an amazing four-year journey that transformed my life, personally, spiritually and professionally. 

Heather helped me to discover my passions...by doing so, I discovered I still had a calling for medicine but it now came from a place of truth...

Today...my wife and I are opening our first concierge medicine clinic in a community we love. I’m actually excited to have the opportunity to practice medicine the way I believe it’s meant to be, with a focus on the doctor-patient relationship and an emphasis on faith. I know if I had not reached out to Dr. Fork, my life would not be where it is at today.

- Steve Lapke, MD

Papillion, NE
Sue Zimmermann

“Heather gave me the confidence to create a new livelihood by following my heart."

She is incredibly knowledgeable about the range of careers available to physicians and provided me with advice and connections which I would not have found on my own.  From the start she encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and try different things.  I was laid off unexpectedly in early 2017, and Heather gave me the confidence to create a new livelihood by following my heart and making decisions based on trust, not fear.  Now I am enjoying working part-time in a clinical setting in addition to teaching and writing.

- Sue Zimmermann, MD

Orthopedic Surgeon
Devki Patel

After months of struggling to find a non-clinical career that matched my values and passion, I stumbled upon Heather's website which truly changed my life."

Heather's insightful and personalized approach to career coaching made me think outside the box since she took the time to evaluate my personality, values, interests, and preferred lifestyle.

Through her encouragement, practical advice, and professional connections, I was able to find a non-clinical position at a state Medicaid agency that aligned with my passion for population health and serving low-income communities. In addition to her coaching sessions, Heather has built a community of like-minded physicians through her blog, and I feel honored to recommend her to friends and colleagues who seek to make positive changes in their professional and personal lives.

- Devki Patel, MD

Pathologist
Jay Macregor

Working with Heather ultimately helped me leave my job in corporate healthcare and find a path that was much more fulfilling."

My career was going reasonably well but I couldn’t shake this nagging feeling I could do better; or at least find a better long-term career fit.  

I was able to find a surgery job that better aligned with my goals and professional interests.  Additionally, Heather helped me start a consulting business which has allowed me to pursue a true passion: helping medical students, residents, and attendings surgeons navigate the challenges of high-stakes standardized exams.    

If you are reading this as a “Type A” surgeon who doesn’t think coaching is for you, I would encourage you to give Heather a shot.  I’m very glad I did!

- Jay MacGregor, MD

Colorectal Surgeon

“I gained the confidence in myself to develop an action plan that blended the best parts of my experiences and interests into a cohesive career." 

Through our work, I learned to trust myself to make good decisions for my own future – something I hadn’t realized I was struggling with because as an emergency physician, I make life-changing decisions with patients every day. 

By feeding my creativity and interests in other realms of my professional life, I’ve found renewed compassion for my patients and myself, making every shift an opportunity to actually care for people. Thank you Heather. I really couldn’t have made these changes without your help!

- Liz McMurtry, DO

Emergency Medicine Physician
Amie

The simple truth is - Heather Fork totally helped me change my life."

I never would have had the courage to make the changes I’ve made without her unwavering support, wealth of knowledge and commitment. 

When I first started working with Heather, I was downtrodden...I’d been practicing medicine for 20+ years and yet had never quite found my place.  During the first year I worked with Heather, I left the practice I’d been working at, and recreated an entirely new professional purpose.

I’m now an executive and leadership coach, a university professor, and a Brené Brown Daring Way facilitator, and I have never looked back.  I love what I am doing more than at any other time in my professional life and I credit Heather with seeing in me what I was never able to see in myself, until now.

Don’t hesitate, don’t doubt yourself, schedule your time with Heather as soon as possible- she can help you reconnect to your purpose and reinvent your life.

- Amie Langbein, DO

Family Physician
Untitled design

"After 30 years in academic medicine, I wanted a career change but had no idea where to start. Medicine was all I knew."

I signed up for coaching with Heather and it transformed my life. She helped me get clear on what I wanted my life to look like. We reviewed my skills, values, and strengths. She instilled hope in me that change IS possible after 50 years! 

The outcome is that I have created a life I love! I practice endocrinology part-time and own a life coaching business! Coaching with Heather is one of the best investments I have made in my life. 

- Karen Barnard, MBBCh, MPH

Endocrinologist and Life Coach