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LinkedIn for the Sterile Processing Professional, Part Two

Welcome back sterile processing (SP) professionals to Part Two on elevating your LinkedIn presence. If you missed Part One, we covered why using the social platform is relevant today, how to create a profile that resonates, and the top three types of posts you should be making to gain traction and get more eyes on you today. If you missed it, you can read LinkedIn for the Sterile Processing Professional, Part One here. This issue, we will cover how to start building a personal brand, how to effectively share other people’s content, and how to grow your connections.

Building your personal brand
Personal branding is thinking about your career, not your current job. It is you creating your own space and zone of genius that, over time, tells your story (and who doesn’t like a good story?). “A personal brand is a widely-recognized and largely-uniform perception or impression of an individual based on their experience, expertise, competencies, actions, and/or achievements within a community, industry, or the marketplace at large.”1 It is you building up credibility within your industry, and in time being considered a subject matter expert. How do you accomplish this? That’s a loaded question if there every was one, but the keys are what we refer to as the “three Cs.”

  1. Connections: The caliber of your connections and the strength of your network will define your level of influence on LinkedIn. We are all stronger together, and your message will be amplified and validated by other industry professionals if you are connected to the correct ones.
  2. Content: Your content should vary so that your audience can see a fully rounded portfolio of the amazing professional that is you. Recall the three types of content from Part One that are resonating at this exact moment on LinkedIn. You are not limited to these types of content, but they will help you shine right now.
  3. Consistency: If you are serious about building a personal brand, buckle up. This will require time and dedication. To have a truly effective presence, we recommend that you post two to three times a week.

The final consideration when building your personal brand is that it’s called a personal brand for a reason; because it is, in fact, about you. It is about your expertise, your career lessons learned, the wins and losses encountered, and your smiling face. This means that people need to see your face. This can feel foreign at first. Why do I need to have photos of myself all over LinkedIn? Because that’s how people start tying a face to a name. You can do this by posting photos of yourself with co-workers, by posting short videos (with captions) of you sharing a lesson you’ve learned or an a-ha moment, or simply sharing a motivational quote with an image of you. It will definitely not feel like second nature to do, but in time it will begin to feel more normal. As a sterile processing professional, we all know you work hard, are willing to learn new things, and you aren’t afraid to try new things. We also know that you want a fulfilling career, opportunity for advancement, and to be paid what you deserve. Sometimes it’s a hard pill to swallow, but your organization can replace you overnight and what will you be left with? If you start building your personal brand on LinkedIn, you have the ability to be left with a working digital résumé, co-workers that have recommended you, skill sets endorsed by other professionals, and a powerful network that can help you get to the next level in your career.

Sharing other people’s content
If you have a hard time curating unique content on a regular basis it can be a good move to share other people’s content and industry relevant content you see. It shows that you have your finger on the pulse of our industry, it shows your support to other creators (that can often help you get ahead), and it fills content gaps if you’re lacking inspiration. However, there is a correct way to do this, and believe it or not, it isn’t just pressing Share and posting. That method is selling yourself, and the original creator, short. When you do share a post or industry-relevant article, here is how:

  1. Write a caption to coincide with the post to include your thoughts on the topic, why it resonated, or what it helped teach you. Here are some tips for how to format your LinkedIn copy.2
  2. Tag the business or content creator when you post it and get them to be a part of your conversation. You can tag them by typing the @ symbol followed by their name. If you’ve done this correctly, their name or business will be blue in your post.
  3. Always give credit where credit is due. Do not use company information or educational materials without permission.

Your connections (if they are active on LinkedIn) will love you sharing their content and nine times out of ten want to be a part of the conversation you are having. Which brings us to our last point in this write-up.

Growing your connections
Have you ever heard the phrase “your network is your net worth”? You hear it so often because it is the cold, hard truth. The stronger and more diverse your network is, the wider your breadth and capacity for growth. There are a few ways to go about connecting to and finding the right people. 

  1. Find your ideal connection and go to their profile. If it isn’t private, you can click the blue link under their profile and see their connections and connect with them, as well. Birds of a feather flock together.
  2. Search by facility, company, or name and connect.
  3. Search by hashtag and follow or connect to people that are associated and interact with that specific hashtag.
  4. Join LinkedIn groups filled with like-minded professionals.
  5. Join events and connect with the attendees.

The options for connecting are limitless; however, a few considerations to keep in mind. According to LinkedIn, “To ensure an optimal site experience, the network size limit for LinkedIn members is a maximum of 30,000 1st-degree connections. We recommend that you only keep quality connections in your network.”3

If you are willing to dedicate your time to growing your connections, the caliber of content you create, and how your share other’s content, your odds at LinkedIn success will multiply dramatically. Your future career-driven self will thank you for jumping on the LinkedIn train and starting to build your personal brand. It’s never to late to start, and the only regret you will have in using this social media platform will be that you didn’t start sooner.

References

  1. PersonalBrand.com. “The Official Definitions: Personal Brand and Personal Branding,” accessed January 26, 2022. https://personalbrand.com/definition/
  2. LinkedIn.com. “Cypress Rise Inc.” LinkedIn profile, January 21, 2022, accessed January 26, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6890417931562426368
  3. LinkedIn.com. “Types of Restrictions for Sending Invitations,” accessed January 26, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/answer/4800/invitation-limitations?lang=en

Rebecca Kinney is a medical sales representative and small business owner of Cypress, Inc. She is a Certified Central Service Vendor Partner (CCSVP). Rebecca has worked in healthcare for more than 15 years: 7 years as a sterile processing technician and 8 years in medical sales working directly with SP. Focused on a proactive and consultative approach, she takes her experience to share knowledge in the field she wishes she knew when she worked in SP. She actively participates in speaking engagements and uses LinkedIn as an educational tool to reach an audience of almost 30,000 professionals. 

Continual process improvement and education lending to patient safety has always been her primary objective.

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