Networking is an old skill with a new twist, thanks to the Internet! Now, in addition to shaking hands and exchanging contact information at meetings or parties, you can also network from the comfort of your own home. Here are some tips for networking that could help to start or advance your career in healthcare:
High school and college offer many opportunities to join organizations that will allow you to expand your network later. Many organizations offer alumni activities or directories as well as websites or forums to maintain contact over the years.
Join professional associations and attend meetings when possible.
Recruiters find their way to membership lists too, so be sure you’re on the directory. Most healthcare roles are represented by a national society or professional association, whether you’re a doctor, a tech, or an office worker.
Never stop networking – Even if you have a great job.
Make networking a part of your regular routine. Try chatting with people about their professions and their contacts. If you have any existing contacts who could be helpful to another person, offer to introduce them, if you know your contact is open to networking. The best time to network is when you’re gainfully employed – you’ll come across as confident and successful which will make you more interesting and attractive from a professional standpoint. Networking is much like dating – you’re more attractive when you’re “taken”!
Assume each person you meet is a valuable connection.
In other words, don’t underestimate someone’s networkability, even if he or she is not in the healthcare industry! You never know, a new acquaintance you meet at a party could have a friend/sister/dad/cousin who is the CEO of a hospital or pharmaceutical company… you get the idea!
If you leave a company, be sure to leave on good terms, and try to stay in touch.
Never ever burn bridges! Even though it would feel so great to finally tell off your boss, please resist the urge! Keep the lines of communication open, if not with your immediate boss, then at least with other senior colleagues. Many of them will end up at different companies later, including one where you might like to work, and you’ll be very glad you’re on good terms.
Combine “inter-net-working” with face-to-face personal networking.
Yes, you read it here first - I’ve coined a new phrase: “internetworking,” to describe on-line networking using the worldwide web. Don’t limit yourself to one method of networking – the more methods you utilize, the more successful you will be – networking is a game of numbers.
When networking online, be sure to use reputable sites and obey the rules.
One of my personal favorites is LinkedIn , because it’s very professional, it’s easy to use and invite your friends, and it discourages contacting people you don’t know, unless you’re introduced by a mutual contact.
Get out and About! (no pun intended!)
The more places you go, events you attend, and people you meet, the more successful you’ll be!