Social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can help healthcare travelers stay in touch with family and friends while on assignment.

But they also can be dangerous: It’s too easy to let patient information slip in to one of your social media updates.

LinkedIn, however, due to its great focus on careers and one’s professional life, can be a great boon to your traveling career.

Read below for the pros and cons of using LinkedIn, as well as some tips for navigating it successfully.

First, the cons:

  • Be careful about placing each and every assignment you take on on your profile as separate jobs. This can make you look like an extreme job-hopper. (“He leaves jobs every 13 weeks?!”) Instead, simply put in as your current “job” the term healthcare traveler, and then list the staffing services for which you work. You can also create sublists for the different assignments you’ve taken on. Be sure to list new skills you’ve acquired at each assignment in that sublist.
  • It can be hard to get testimonials as a traveler and testimonials are like gold on LinkedIn. Naturally, you’ll do your very best on each and every assignment, so don’t be shy about asking for your assignment supervisors for a testimonial. In fact, you could write a testimonial up, give it to them and ask it them to edit as they see fit and post it on LinkedIn (you can’t post the testimonials yourself).
  • Lack of privacy. No matter how much you work to make your LinkedIn profile and updates as private as possible, you must understand that anything you place there – updates, comments, links to other articles – will be seen by people unknown to you. Be extremely careful what you post or even link to.

Now, the benefits:

  • LinkedIn is absolutely wonderful for maintaining professional contacts while on the road. You can place your resume/CV online and update it as needed.
  • LinkedIn provides terrific networking opportunities via special interest and professional groups. You can join groups for your profession and for healthcare travelers (even groups for healthcare travelers within your profession), allowing you to stay abreast of trends in your field.
  • Groups also help you showcase your expertise. If another member asks a question you can answer, by all means do so.
  • Having an active LinkedIn presence can also help you become visible to travel staffing recruiters. After all, recruiters more and more are looking to LinkedIn to find healthcare travelers; the more active you are there, the more you keep your profile updated with your travel accomplishments, the more attractive you’ll be.

If you’re a traveler, how active are you on LinkedIn? Are you able to navigate its potential pitfalls with ease? Has it helped you find work as a traveler?