June 19, 2020, by Shweta
Networking Masterclass: How to effectively use LinkedIn
Last night, during one of our daily Zoom calls, my friends and I started debating the efficacy of LinkedIn. Everyone had different opinions but one thing was for sure, LinkedIn had become a saving grace for graduating classes during the pandemic. Gripped by so much uncertainty, the only thing many of us can do is reach out to the right people, network effectively and gain new skills in hopes of a recovering job market. As a medical student, I had never appreciated the relevance of LinkedIn in my circles; I used it as more of a digital CV to keep track of my own achievements and professional development. However, a few months ago, I set out to learn more about LinkedIn. In a few weeks, I grew my network to over 600 contacts, had a chat with some very inspirational people and even found a new mentor! In light of my new-found love for the platform, here are some of my tips, anecdotal evidence and successes to help you master LinkedIn.
Why should you be on LinkedIn?
Some of you may see it as a chore and others, as unnecessary. But let me tell you, grafting an online presence on LinkedIn can change your life in more ways than one. There are the obvious advantages, from connecting with alumni to finding jobs and researching prospective employers. However, my personal favourite is the enriching professional development that comes from chatting with like-minded individuals. Through LinkedIn, I’ve improved my interview skills, learnt new techniques to write engaging content online and found revision resources relevant to my course. I’ve gained opportunities I wouldn’t have otherwise and met people who have inspired me to aim higher, every day. My LinkedIn community has helped keep me productive and motivated even amidst all the chaos.
How can YOU make the most of LinkedIn?
One of the best things you can do for yourself is grow your network. Connect with colleagues from your old school. Connect with course mates, teachers and professionals in relevant fields. Use the search tab to find “2nd connections”; these are folk with whom you share mutual connections. Additionally, follow the people and organisations that inspire you. These can be entrepreneurs, scientific organisations, news outlets etc. The larger your network, the better your reach and consequently, your benefit. Aiming for a large and diverse network will mould your feed into an educational and inspirational minefield of opportunities and ideas. But don’t go around adding just anybody. Remember, you become who you surround yourself with and in today’s climate, that includes your virtual world. Follow those who inspire you and reap the benefits.
Once you’ve grown your network, start to engage actively. Leave (smart/kind) comments on posts that resonate with you. Post about developments in your own academic and/or career progression. Here’s a little story for you! A few months ago, I did an ‘AI in healthcare’ course by Public Health England that ignited a newfound interest in med-tech. I conveyed this on LinkedIn and my post caught the eye of a very talented doctor who has done some life-changing work in med-tech circles. Long story short, he ended up becoming a new mentor in my professional career and in such a short period, I have learnt so much from him! This just goes to show how invaluable networking and mentorship can be. However, people only listen to those who can be heard so make your voice known but always be kind and considerate.
Finally, do NOT compare. LinkedIn can be emotionally draining on the worst of days. As a platform that showcases the best of the best, it’s natural to feel unworthy or lacking. Never forget that your journey is yours alone and no two people experience the world in the same way. Use others’ success stories to guide and inspire you but always remember that your only competition should be yourself. And now more than ever, nothing matters more than your mental and emotional well-being, even if that means that your productivity takes a little bit of a hit.
Until next time,
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