If you were looking for a nursing job a decade ago, a well-crafted covering letter and a killer CV would have been enough to land you your dream role. However, in today’s competitive job market, the application process has evolved, the number of senior nursing positions is declining and it is more important than ever to stand out from the crowd.

Nurses and healthcare professionals looking to climb the career ladder are now turning to the world of marketing and borrowing principles from what is known as ‘personal branding’ to improve their chances of being noticed. This means candidates are spending more and more time managing every aspect of their professional profiles in order to improve their visibility and authority within their chosen field.

Most healthcare professionals might be wondering if they really need a personal brand, but with studies showing 90% of recruiters now visit a candidate’s social media profile as part of the screening process, it makes good sense to ensure yours is the best it can be.

What all this means is having a personal brand that sets you apart from other candidates is becoming more important than ever. So, if you’re thinking about finding a new role in nursing, here are three personal branding tips to get you started.

Identify your professional expertise.

Having a specific area of expertise which is relevant to your chosen career path is essential to building your personal brand. A unique specialism will underpin your whole personal branding strategy so it’s important to spend time thinking about what you do best and how you can share your knowledge with others. Whether there are specific patient care processes you’ve helped introduce or there’s a particular discipline you help more junior members of staff with, try and narrow down a few niche areas and select something you regularly excel in.

Be careful when sharing best practice.

A particular difficulty for nurses who are trying to build a personal brand is the issue of confidentiality. Regulations surrounding patient privacy mean that nurses can be very limited to what they can disclose publicly, so, when you’re sharing advice and information related to your specialism, you need to be careful. If you’re offering guidance on a particular subject, avoid mentioning specific cases or sensitive information and focus instead on giving practical advice for other nurses who might be looking to sharpen a skill, manage stress or speed up a particular process. Although writing or blogging might be a great way to let off steam or voice your opinion on the matter, always think carefully about the purpose of your knowledge sharing and the details within it before you publish.

Our recruiters in the social care and nursing sector outline their number one personal branding tip in the clip below:

Take advantage of networking opportunities.

Due to the nature of shift work and demanding rotas and schedules, networking may not be number one on a nurses list of pressing priorities. However, it’s important to take any opportunity you can to build strong professional relationships in your sector as you’ll find it can greatly enhance your career prospects.

If you’re new to networking, start by cultivating relationships with the people you’re already familiar with such as your colleagues or people you meet on training courses. This should provide you with a solid base of contacts to start and practice with and will usually pave the way for more networking opportunities in other departments or organisations.

Another way to meet other like-minded professionals in your field and stay abreast of industry developments is to join a professional nursing association. From the Royal College of Nursing to niche organisations such as BAUN and ESNA, there are associations to suit a variety of specialisms and career levels, so ask your colleagues and managers to point you in the direction of the most suitable ones. These organisations will often host formal and informal networking events and online forum discussions so are likely to offer you a perfect platform to continue networking online and offline with other professionals.