Getting to know other professionals in your field pays off
Networking is a smart way to broaden your professional horizons. Conversations with people in your field might open you up to new areas of specialization, or to a kind of work environment you might not have considered before.
Follow these simple pieces of advice, and you’ll be building your network in no time.
Find events to attend
Where do you find out about events that would be valuable? For starters, check LinkedIn and do some searches online for opportunities in your area. Then watch for announcements where you work about associations or other organizations that might be sponsoring a gathering. Some events can include interactive sessions, such as workshops, where you can share what you’ve learned in a structured setting, as well as hear about the experiences of others.
Join a professional association
These are excellent opportunities to connect with others who work in your field. If you become very involved, consider assuming a leadership position so you can take on ongoing responsibilities for the organization. This looks great on a resume and brings you into closer contact with even more people.
Make time to volunteer
Set aside some time to volunteer in your healthcare field. Volunteering can help you gain experience and also meet an even wider network of connections. Find a local healthcare organization or facility that needs experienced volunteers.
Focus on branding yourself
Consider what you already know you do well, and then to factor that into how you talk about yourself professionally. This could be a quality of your personality, or a particular value you hold that informs all of your work. It should come across in your resume, on LinkedIn, and on social media, as well as in how you talk to people face-to-face.
Get linked up
Sites like the professional online network LinkedIn are extremely useful. You can find most professionals in this network and easily get an overview of their title, how long they’ve been in their current job, and what kind of training they received. This information is invaluable if you decide to reach out to them, because you can ask informed questions.
Creating your own profile—like an online resume—makes it possible for others to find you. The more in-depth your profile, the more information your connections can see. Optimize your profile with keywords. A picture is also a good idea.
There are other ways to be active on this networking site as well. It’s easy to endorse people you know for specific skills. Congratulate your connections on new jobs or work anniversaries. Follow trends in the particular segment of healthcare you’re interested in.
Whether you follow this advice from behind your computer, or get motivated to go out and meet some fellow professionals, we hope it serves you well in creating the career that you want!
This article is part of the weekly blog produced by the American College for Medical Careers in Orlando, FL. We support our students in building careers in the healthcare field. Visit us online to learn more.