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LinkedIn: A Powerful Tool for Physicians

Most physicians view LinkedIn as a networking tool for people who are not in medicine. Chances are, most of us got our jobs through word of mouth, physician job boards, recruiters, or by directly reaching out to practices or employers we were interested in. After securing our jobs, we are mostly content to put away our CVs and resumes, and not think about them again until if and when life circumstances change and we have to apply for another job. However, for physicians looking for out of the box opportunities, such as nonclinical career options, physicians looking for healthcare technology or industry jobs, pharmaceutical careers, and side gigs, LinkedIn can be a powerful tool. Below, we cover the benefits of having a professional presence on LinkedIn and how to get started, as well as how to avoid solicitation and spam.

The benefits for physicians of networking on LinkedIn

Benefits of Networking on LinkedIn for Physicians

My husband is a partner in a private practice, and I don’t think he’s put together a new resume in about a decade. While he has a LinkedIn profile, I’m not sure he’s logged in in years. I, on the other hand, am on LinkedIn daily because of my advocacy, consulting/advisory, health tech and business hats. In fact, a few years ago, LinkedIn made me a Top Health Voice, and I’ve found it a powerful tool to get the word out about so many issues I’m passionate about to the non-medical world. So many times, we physicians are content to exist in our silos and echo chambers, but you’d be surprised how little those who are outside of healthcare know about the issues that we discuss daily on our communities. Some reasons why I think it’s beneficial for all physicians to build their presence on professional networks like LinkedIn:

  • You can showcase your expertise so that others looking for that expertise can find you. This could be for side gig opportunities like consulting, physician speaking or medical writing, or expert witness positions, for media opportunities that could contribute to your clinical brand, or for possible new trajectories to your career like a nonclinical career or advisory board positions.

  • You can expand your network through the networks of your connections and others that you find interesting on LinkedIn. Most of us have different interests, and this is a great way to get plugged into them and hear what people are up to. Many of us don’t talk about work outside of work, so it’s quite possible that somebody in your network is doing something really interesting and you would never even know it without seeing their updates on LinkedIn.

  • You can stay up to date with what’s happening in the healthcare space outside of clinical medicine (things like AI, health tech, consolidation, new models of healthcare delivery). Most of the business world hangs out here, and about a quarter of the GDP is healthcare related, so there’s a lot of activity on LinkedIn about these things.

How Physicians Can Get Started on Their LinkedIn Profile

There’s many more, but these are some big ones. Many people recognize this, but aren’t sure how to get started on LinkedIn. Some tips:

  • Create a profile that emphasizes your expertise. It doesn’t have to be your whole CV, but at minimum should list the institutions you’ve trained at and your credentials. If you’ve had famous articles (clinical or nonclinical), written a book, been quoted in something significant, or had a unique experience, putting it here would be a good way to show up in search engines.

  • Connect with people in your networks - both professional and personal.

  • Look at people that LinkedIn suggests to you as connections. You may find people you’ve fallen out of touch with who are doing things that are interesting to you, or find new people you want to connect with.

  • Interact with posts that interest you by commenting on threads. This is a great way to get people looking at your profile and asking to connect.

  • Post about things relevant to the reason you’re on LinkedIn, whether it be your side gig, something you want to weigh in on regarding healthcare, or about other issues that matter to you - this is a good way to expand your networks and find out about new opportunities.

  • Follow thought leaders in areas that are of interest to you. It’s an excellent way to keep abreast of things in the pipeline.

Some Additional Tips for Physicians on Using LinkedIn

As great of a tool as we believe LinkedIn can be, it does come with some hassles as it's not a closed network. Here are some additional tips for ensuring you don't regret being on the platform.

  • Closely regulate your privacy settings and contact information. Unfortunately, there is quite a bit of solicitation on the platform, and as a physician you can be a prime target. Make sure that it's not easy for people to find out how to contact you. If you have a website, we recommend directing them to your website contact form, where it takes more steps for them to contact you and they don't get access to your phone number or email address. This makes it less likely you'll be added to spam lists.

  • Don't connect with people you don't know unless you are truly interested in connecting with them. You may find yourself getting lots of messages for something they are trying to sell you, investment opportunities of questionable merit (ask yourself why you would give money to a stranger on LinkedIn and whether good investment opportunities would have to find investors that way), or requests from people asking you to sign up for their newsletters or check out their latest blog or podcast. That's what the ability for you to follow people is for - you can stay up to date with topics you're interested in simply by following their content but not being connected. Don't be afraid to click the unfollow button or remove the connection if necessary.

  • Don't connect with recruiters unless you're looking for a job. As physicians know, recruiters can be relentless. That is their job, but it's not your obligation to indulge.

  • Don't connect with financial advisors, investors, or similar unless you are okay with solicitation. As you can imagine, these professionals love physician connections, but again, while it's their job to seek business, if you don't want to get messages for meeting requests so they can talk to you about finances or investment opportunities and ultimately pitch you on their services or investments, don't add them.

  • Remember, your posts on LinkedIn and all of your activity on LinkedIn is by default public, and more than most platforms, LinkedIn shows other people all of your activity (likes and comments on other people's posts). As with all things social media, but particularly publicly searchable content, be careful about interacting with things you don't want others to see. The beauty of LinkedIn is that your connections see when you comment on things, as do your connections' connections. They will see what you like, what you post, and what you comment on. Because the goal is networking, don't be surprised if your employer sees that you liked that post about a nonclinical job or that you've been interacting with comments with an in-house recruiter at another hospital system.


As more and more people who are not physicians get involved in the business of healthcare, it has become increasingly important for physicians to weigh in on their discussions. We’ve got unique perspectives and expertise, and we want to make sure our voices are heard. Having a presence on social networks like LinkedIn may also open the door to new career or side gig opportunities that you didn't even know you were looking for, or help augment your ability to be found for those opportunities you are actively seeking.

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