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Do’s and don’ts for networking on LinkedIn

As campus recruiters, we get a lot of questions from dental students about how to better position themselves in front of recruiters. A question that comes up time and time again is, “How can I network with other dental professionals and recruiters on LinkedIn?” Here, we answer some commonly asked questions about networking on this social platform.

Amanda Rochlen, New York-based campus recruiter, Heartland Dental

Kelly O’Neill, Chicago-based campus recruiter, Heartland Dental

What are the must-haves when creating your LinkedIn profile?

Kelly: There are a few things you should do when building your profile:

  • Add a picture. When choosing a picture, use a headshot or close-up photo where you can see your face clearly. Use a professional headshot if you have one; if you don’t, take one using your phone.
  • Write a catchy, well-thought-out headline and summary.
  • Include relevant workplace information, skills and accomplishments. This does not have to be everything on your resume verbatim, but think through your experiences or skills you’d like others to be aware of.
  • Edit your URL. You can customize this to have your name in the link. It’s an easy way to quickly connect with people.
  • Ask for recommendations. This is an incredibly valuable tool. What better way for someone to get an idea of who you are than to hear testimonies from those you’ve worked with. I suggest asking your recommenders via LinkedIn message before sending the request.
  • Optimize your profile’s search visibility. If you are currently job searching, you can make yourself more visible. Look at your preferences and update them as needed.
  • Be a content creator (more on this later!)

What are the “don’ts” on LinkedIn? 

Kelly: I suggest refraining from using profanity, engaging in political or hot button debates, or harassing anyone. Much like your resume, be thoughtful about the email address you use. Use an email account that looks professional. And don’t put links to your personal social media accounts. While you may hear differing suggestions on this topic, Amanda and I both suggest you keep your personal social media separate from your professional presence on LinkedIn. If you are going to blend them, be thoughtful of what a potential employer might see.

How should you go about reaching out to someone you don’t know?

Kelly: Don’t just add them on LinkedIn and go about your day. Ask for an introduction, or add them and include a custom note with why you want to connect. For those with whom you have a mutual connection, ask that person to introduce you and share why you’d like to connect. For someone you don’t have any connection to, send a LinkedIn message that describes why you’d like to connect, what value you might be able to offer them or even to ask for a 15-minute informational interview. These are a great way to make new connections and better understand someone’s career path or job.   

When should dental students create their profiles?

Amanda: You should create your LinkedIn profile early. There is no reason to wait until you become a D4 to start building your network. As a dental student and ASDA member, you will be constantly meeting new people. Take advantage of this opportunity right from the start, and when you meet someone new, ask to connect with them on LinkedIn. You never know what the connections you make can lead to in the future.  

As a student, how do I use LinkedIn to engage with dental industry news and trends?

Amanda: Tip No. 1: Join a LinkedIn group. The purpose of the groups is to engage in conversations with other members of your Industry to talk about experiences and industry news (Hint: Many schools have their own groups as well as alumni groups). As a student, this is a great way to engage with others in your field.  

Tip No. 2: Use the search bar. You can look for specific content using the search bar on the top left corner of your LinkedIn page. Type in phrases related to dentistry, and it could be as simple as the word dentistry itself. You will find articles, blog posts and industry news. Don’t be afraid to like, comment or share those posts.   

Tip No. 3: Be a content creator. Start a conversation, share your journey and meaningful experiences you are having, or share industry news with your network. You will be surprised to see how people interact with your content.  

Want help with building your profile? Feel free to email us at campusrecruiting@heartland.com, and we’d be happy to set up a time to talk!

This blog post is sponsored by Heartland Dental.

Heartland Dental

Heartland Dental, LLC is the largest dental support organization in the United States with over 950+ supported offices and 1600+ supported doctors. Based in Effingham, IL, Heartland Dental provides non-clinical support services to over 1,300 dentists.

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