Social Networking Tips to Advance Your Dental Hygiene Career

DATE: Jan 24, 2017 
AUTHOR: Jen Collins,RDH

Just about everyone has at least one social media profile. LinkedIn hosts 100 million accounts, Instagram boasts 400 million amateur photographers and Facebook, the world's most popular social networking site, has more than 1.59 billion users, according to Adweek. But did you know you can leverage your social media profiles to advance your dental hygiene career? Follow these social networking tips to get the most from your social media profiles.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is an online social network for business professionals and is mainly used as a networking tool. LinkedIn differs from other networking sites because it is an explicitly valuable tool for job seekers and employers looking to hire.

Dental hygienists are encouraged to have a LinkedIn profile for potential employers to view when job opportunities are competitive. Hiring managers may value certain credentials, and to make their search more efficient, they may only scan profiles quickly for buzzwords. So, when you are composing your career history, skills and degrees descriptions, be as clear as possible. For example, if you have worked with lasers, put that down. If you have attended particularly specialized CE courses, let your profile viewers know. Optimizing your profile in this way will help people find you if you're job searching.

Instagram

Social networking tips to follow on Instagram are simple: only post appropriate pictures! Instagram, a photo-sharing site, allows users to take pictures and share publicly or privately on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr. Instagram is owned by Facebook and you can often find the same images posted to both sites.

Dental hygienists can use Instagram to share case studies or to share pictures of their travels while attending dental conferences. Like other social media platforms, it is important to choose only images that are professional and will enhance career goals. Potential employers may not be impressed with the selfies you took last weekend at the bar. Go all the way through your entire photo history and remove any photos that you would not want your boss to see. Or, you can set your privacy settings to only allow your closest friends to view your photo reel.

You may want to snap candids throughout your workday to let your followers know what your profession is like. One important social networking tip is to always ask the permission of your photo subjects. Absolutely make sure that neither patients nor patient records are featured in any of your photos so that you do not violate HIPAA.

Facebook

Facebook is a great place to share links, photos or any of your thoughts, but if you're using it as a professional tool, make sure you always stay, well, professional. Avoid getting into heated discussions, as future employers may scan your activity and see attitudes they may not see as a fit for their practice.

Meeting new friends and peers is easy on Facebook. The Colgate Oral Health Advisor Facebook group shares breaking news of recent innovations and advancements in the dental hygiene field. The COHA group allows members to share privately with their peers and network with dental hygienists across the country. It also serves as a sounding board where individuals can ask for guidance about their professional lives and how that blends into their personal lives.

Allowing patients to view your Facebook profile can help you to get to know each other better and see what you may have in common, providing some great talking points the next time they come in for an appointment. Having patients share their positive experiences about your practice may allow you to expand your patient base. Keep communication with patients respectful and professional by only posting links that are appropriate.

Takeaways

  • Keep social media pages current and professional.
  • Network with professionals online to advance your career and explore new opportunities.
  • Join COHA to connect with your peers and stay up to date on dental hygiene trends.

Why It's Valuable

It is important to stay engaged in your profession to meet new people and advance your career. Social media is a great tool to introduce you to career opportunities that you never knew were available. Joining online groups dedicated to dental hygienists will alert you to breaking news and give you the support you need to excel as a dental hygienist.