Networking tips for healthcare professionals
Networking tips for healthcare professionals
As a healthcare professional, finding the time to network can be difficult. Between your demanding schedule and the desire for a little downtime or sleep, there aren’t many hours left for socializing. But if you want to advance your career and land a new job, networking can help.
Here are a few tried-and-true ways to network and keep your name and credentials top of mind when a new position becomes available in a colleague’s organization.
One of the keys to networking is to plan ahead. Whether it’s spending time on social media, connecting with contacts one-on-one or participating in a social gathering (in-person or virtual), scheduling your time and planning your strategy will help you make the most of networking encounters.
Another critical aspect of advanced planning is determining who you want to network with. Reaching out to others in the same line of work is always important. But your peers aren’t the only professionals you should seek out. Think about your career goals – do you want to work at a large hospital, have a 9-5 job at an insurance company, run your own business? Then, as you consider your next move, begin making connections with a variety of people who work at the places that interest you. This will help you determine if their organization would be a good fit for you and land you a referral.
Engage in social media
Whether you’d like to or not, social media is one of the best ways to connect these days. While many platforms are mostly entertainment, LinkedIn and private Facebook groups offer great networking opportunities. But updating your profile and hoping someone notices isn’t networking. Instead, you’ll actually need to engage on the platforms to network effectively.
LinkedIn is a great place to start. Their mission is to “connect the world's professionals to make them more productive and successful.” If you haven’t updated your profile recently, set aside some time to do it. First, research your colleagues’ profiles and the profiles of people who have jobs you admire. Then, use those profiles to get some inspiration about the skills and keywords to include when updating your own profile.
Then, carve out some time in your week to connect and network. This means actively engaging in people’s posts by liking and commenting, as well as writing your own posts. You can also message others and join networking groups. And don’t worry, as you begin to engage with others, you’ll see there’s plenty you can say without breaking confidentiality.
On Facebook, join groups that connect you to others in your specific line of work. But also consider joining groups that allow you to position yourself as an expert. Local community or hobby groups offer great places to engage with others who share a common interest. While you can always demonstrate your expertise, you should also engage with the group socially, liking and commenting on things you enjoy or find interesting. Who knows? You may bond with a fellow hobbyist who just happens to be a human resources director looking to fill a position with your qualifications.
Have meaningful conversations
In real life, rather than on social media, one of the best ways to network is to engage in meaningful conversations. Whether it’s on the phone, via video or in person, real conversations require you to set aside time to speak with others. It doesn’t matter if they reach out to you or vice versa. Being present during your conversation is extremely important. So, as best you can, remove any potential distractions and really listen to what the other person is saying.
During your conversation, ask them open-ended, friendly questions to demonstrate you care, regardless of who initiated the conversation. Don’t be afraid to let your guard down a bit and show your humanity and sympathy when needed. Giving others a true sense of who you are as a professional and a human will make you memorable.
Work locum tenens
Hear us out on this one. Even if you’re a seasoned physician who doesn’t need to work holidays, working locum tenens can expand your network. Working a short-term assignment in a new city or facility allows you to check out an organization you’re considering. You’ll get to meet the staff and potential colleagues, see how everything runs and get a sense of whether that organization is a place where you’d be happy.
At the same time, the staff will get to meet you. They’ll gain first-hand experience of your personality, ability to work with others, bedside manner and possibly even how you respond in an emergency. If things go well, stay in touch with the staff you met so you can maintain those connections and learn about future job opportunities. When a position becomes available, they’ll likely notify you before it becomes public and put in a good word. Plus, many of your future colleagues will already know you’re a good fit and encourage the hire.
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