LinkedIn launched in 2003 and has since become the go-to social destination for professional networking and career development, with nearly 800 million registered members from over 200 countries and territories. While LinkedIn is one of the key ways for medical professionals to become social media influencers or to simply boost their careers, it’s not always obvious how best to take advantage of what the service has to offer. What follows are just some of the actions you can take to optimize your professional presence on LinkedIn and give your medical career a real boost.

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  • Making sure your profile is complete, which increases your chances of being found in searches. The LinkedIn Official Blog lists 7 steps for a complete profile:
    1. Adding a profile photo.
    2. Listing all the positions you’ve held, along with good descriptions of your roles.
    3. Listing five or more skills on your profile.
    4. Writing a summary about yourself.
    5. Filling out your industry and postal codes.
    6. Adding where you went to school.
    7. Having 50 or more connections.
  • Using a professional photo. It’s critical to use a quality profile photo that accurately reflects your status as a medical professional. Casual, blurry, or otherwise unappealing profile photos can leave a bad first impression.
  • Creating a public profile URL. Instead of having a profile link like “https://www.linkedin.com/in/jane-smith-b99975/,” you can instead use LinkedIn’s custom URL feature to create a more professional link, such as “https://www.linkedin.com/in/drjanesmith/.“ While not every name combination is going to be available, you can ultimately create a more easily shareable profile link with no unsightly random characters at the end.
  • Optimizing your profile with keywords. Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, doesn’t only have to apply to articles or websites. By incorporating relevant keywords as it relates to your medical specialty or specialties into your profile in a natural way, you’re more likely to be found in the right type of searches.
  • Receiving endorsements. There’s no better way to show off your professional acumen and strong relationships than with endorsements from other LinkedIn members. Returning the favor is not only good professional courtesy but also a great way to get your name in front of even more people.

While the above list does not represent an exhaustive survey of what you can do to have the best possible presence on LinkedIn, if you’re able to implement the 5 action items described in this article, you’ll have a serious leg up on many of your colleagues with minimal effort. You can then decide whether you want to invest in additional features made possible with a LinkedIn Premium subscription or if you want to participate in or even start your own LinkedIn Group to take your networking possibilities to the next level.