Posted on Monday, June 30, 2008
There’s a lot of truth to the old adage, “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” Networking is the most effective way to find out about new job opportunities and get your foot in the door. Through networking you can connect with other healthcare professionals professionally, socially, and personally. Networking allows you to exchange information, share experiences, and cultivate professional relationships. By connecting with others in your profession you gain exposure to a broad spectrum of information and viewpoints that allow you to achieve a greater understanding of your field. Once relegated to meetings and social events, the Internet has taken networking to a new level. It is now possible to network at your personal convenience from the comfort of your home with just the click of a mouse.
How to Network:
• Set goals. Networking is an exchange. Know what you want to learn and what you have to give.
• Identify contacts. Decide who or what organization can best provide the information, mentoring, or opportunity you seek.
• Make contact. Make a phone call, send an email, join a chat room, meet for coffee, or attend a meeting. Introduce yourself and invite an exchange of information.
• Nurture connections. Make regular contact to solidify your connections.
• Grow your network. Gradually add contacts to your network to increase your networking scope.
Where to Find Networking Opportunities:
Take advantage of the opportunity to meet other people in your field by attending meetings of local professional organizations. Attend workshops offered by area hospitals and healthcare organizations. You’ll also find good networking opportunities online. Many nursing specialties offer chat rooms and discussion groups on their Web sites. Alumni organizations are another good networking source. Check out these general networking sites:
• NurseGroups.com is a social networking site that brings nurses together, both professionally and socially.
• NurseLinkUp.com is an online community that connects nurses around the world.
• NurseChat.com offers a place for nurses to exchange information and advice.
• Medicalmingle.com is a professional social network for people working in, servicing, or studying for a career in the healthcare and medical field.
• Linkedin.com is a social networking site for professionals across all industries, designed to increase user visibility and overall connectability.