While many people think that building a network is only for those currently seeking a job, it never hurts to work on having a strong network of professionals at your disposal. Even if you love your job, you never know when a good network will be beneficial. The following tips can help if you’re trying to build your professional network specifically in the healthcare industry.
1. Build your network immediately and leverage on Social Media
Obviously, professionals who are working will have an easier time meeting other workers in the healthcare industry. Social network sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn offer plenty of networking opportunities with other professionals. Twitter has dedicated chats where healthcare professionals can learn more about the healthcare industry. Facebook has groups for many different types of healthcare professionals, and those seeking to expand their network can join.
Finally, LinkedIn offers groups and forums that healthcare professionals find very useful for networking.
2. Join professional groups
Just about every area in the healthcare industry has a professional group that people can join. There are many advantages to joining a professional group other than just having another opportunity to build your network with professionals in a similar field. Among the goals of most groups is the oversight and regulation of professional standards and practices with the public interest in mind.
Some of the benefits include the ability to take part in developing the standards and best practices of the profession, continuous learning opportunities which help members have access to professional development resources to enhance skills and knowledge and stay up to date on changes within the field.
3. Attend conferences
While networking at large conferences or seminars may seem intimidating, they’re an excellent way to gain contacts and expand your network in the medical industry. If you attend a conference make sure you travel throughout the room instead of staying in one area or spend all your time only talking to a few people. Also, remember one of the keys to a good conversation is to listen more than you talk.
Be sure you aren’t dominating every conversation, and make sure you learn and listen from others at the event. Don’t forget to take a stack of business cards with your information on it that you can use for networking opportunities. Even in this high-tech society, a simple business card is one of your best tools for networking. Your business card should include your name, contact information, link to an online resume, and any certifications you hold.
4. Don’t lose network from your old job
While it’s very tempting to tell your old boss exactly how you feel about your job when you’re leaving, it’s always better to leave every job on good terms and with contacts you can still use. Imagine a scenario where you have an interview for a new job the interviewer recognizes a name on your résumé and calls this person for a recommendation. Ideally, you didn’t burn any bridges from your last job and a quick conversation only helps to build your case for the job instead of putting it at risk.
Even if networking is a task that gives you anxiety, it’s important to work on it at every stage of your career. If you start early and build a network across the country of professionals in multiple industries, you’ll find that it helps open doors in your professional and personal life.