Use LinkedIn to build your network
Professionals in the field of business, marketing, or finance usually understand the advantages of using LinkedIn. Making connections is a part of their day-to-day responsibilities, and because even a casual acquaintance can become a client someday, it makes sense to nurture relationships at all levels. Even the language of their industries sounds similar to the language of LinkedIn - networking, connections, personal branding.
However, when I talk to health providers, STEM professionals, or agricultural and environmental professionals, I often hear reasons they think they don't need a LinkedIn profile. Students who are majoring in STEM fields might devote hundreds of hours to a research project but decline a connection request from a scientist in that same research area. It's baffling at times!
As I consider some of the reasons people in certain fields are reluctant to embrace LinkedIn's advantages, I hope I can speak the language that resonates with those professionals. If you're already a proponent of the platform, please share this post with someone who might need an extra nudge to get started on LinkedIn!
Healthcare providers sometimes see themselves as outside the marketplace, because their "product" is intangible: health and well-being. Doctors, medical technicians, and therapists often believe they need no presence on LinkedIn because their career path can be so specialized.
Use LinkedIn to share accomplishments
I agree that LinkedIn's job postings may not be relevant for the typical surgeon, but consider the recent posts shared by Dr. Steven Wexner of the Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Wexner shares innovative surgical techniques, announces lectures he will give, and connects residents to potential specialty training programs through the platform. He has built a following of more than 5,300 people and has an engaged audience interested in his program. LinkedIn provides colleagues, funders, patients, and aspiring healthcare professionals with the opportunity to comprehend and interact with his work. Use LinkedIn to share the great work you accomplish!
Use LinkedIn to inspire young professionals
Scientists and engineers have access to their own networks through professional associations and peer-reviewed publications, so they don't often see the value of LinkedIn. I often point out to them how inaccessible the STEM fields can seem to young people, especially under-represented minorities and women. I point to students like Frederick Daso, an aerospace engineering major at MIT who is an intern at Boeing. His articles are analytical and insightful, but in high school he probably didn't have access to the journals where aerospace engineers publish. Introduce students and young professionals to the cutting edge of your field through LinkedIn posts, and encourage them by responding to their posts as well. Inspire the next generation to pursue your field!
Use LinkedIn to learn about an industry
Finally, I had the pleasure of working with students in the agricultural sciences, design/construction and environmental fields at my latest university. Many remarked that government positions have rigid hiring requirements and they thought LinkedIn was not a very useful tool, since positions had to be applied for through specific web sites. However, when I was able to connect a student to a few alumni in their specific area of interest, they discovered small, focused gatherings like the "Twilight Tour" meetings which weren't widely publicized. They also discovered the ability to showcase recommendations; having someone vouch for your work ethic is essential in fields like agriculture and environmental services. Visit the profile of construction management professional Jasmine Lomax to see how powerful recommendations can be. The LinkedIn platform may not have a lot of relevant content in these particular industries, but that doesn't mean it's not valuable. Use LinkedIn to obtain glowing recommendations and find out about industry gatherings.
No matter which reason you might consider using LinkedIn:
- share the great work you accomplish
- inspire the next generation to pursue your field, or
- obtain recommendations and learn about gatherings
LinkedIn can be useful for any industry, so why not give it a try?! Connect with professionals in your industry, comment on their posts, and contribute content of your own every day for about a month. If after a month you still feel it's not valuable, I willingly concede the point! I suspect you may become a convert, though.
If you could benefit from a coach to dive into LinkedIn or would like a guide to help with your career decisions, drop me a note. You are invited to sign up for my weekly "Career Authentically" newsletter as well.