“Networking is an essential part of building wealth.” – Armstrong Williams
Applicable to practically every industry, this quote from Armstrong Williams rings true for providers of healthcare services as well.
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Providers. Physicians. Physician assistants. Nurse practitioners. Allied health professionals. No matter what type of medical position you’re in, tending to a network of colleagues pays off by attracting opportunities right to your doorstep. Keep reading to learn nine networking tips for healthcare professionals to build and nurture a network full of valuable contacts.
1. Join Professional Organizations
No matter what type of medicine you practice, there is no shortage of professional organizations, societies, and associations you can join. Beyond the obvious networking benefits, becoming a member of a group provides opportunities to learn from other professionals and to stay current on specialty updates and developments.
2. View Everyone You Meet as Valuable Connections
Your friendly neighbor. The courteous grocery store clerk. A person you met on the bus. An overlooked but key networking tip is to view every single person you meet as a valuable connection. Even if they are not in the medical field, you never know when you might meet new referral sources.
3. Attend Medical Events
Workshops. Seminars. Conferences. As a healthcare worker and potentially a member of various medical organizations, you will certainly get invitations to events throughout the year. In fact, access to such networking hot spots is one of the perks of working in the medical field! While you may not be able to squeeze every event into your schedule, do your best to attend as many as possible.
4. Never Burn Your Bridges
Throughout your career, like most medical professionals, you will likely work in many different settings. If you decide to leave a company, for whatever reason, be sure you do so on good terms. Even if you desperately want to tell off your boss for whatever reason, resist the temptation. Stay in contact and keep the lines of communication open. If this is not possible with your immediate boss, then do so with senior colleagues.
5. Network Online
Online forums and professional social media platforms, in particular LinkedIn, provide valuable ways to stay in contact with your current connections and offer opportunities to make new contacts. Before reaching out to new prospects, be sure that you have your Linkedin profile and other online information current.
6. Look at Every Encounter as a Networking Opportunity
Hosted events are not the only opportunity to meet influential people in the medical field. Other events that are less formal, such as class reunions and community picnics, are great for meeting new people that could potentially be valuable connections in the future. Anytime you meet people with whom you want to remain in touch, be sure to follow up. Use the contact information from their business cards to send a friendly message stating that it was nice to meet them following the initial contact. Because networking is a two-way street, finish up the message with an offer to be of service to them should they need it.
7. Build Your Brand
A brand is the identifying marker of your business. As a healthcare professional, that means yourself. Start your networking efforts out on the right foot by building your brand consistently from the very beginning. Choose a particular quality that you offer and emphasize it with other professionals. Maybe you can promote honesty or a specific area of expertise in which you work, such as pediatrics or cardiology. When conversing with other healthcare professionals, work your branding feature or specialization into the conversation.
8. Create a Professional Networking Profile
While your Facebook account probably has your professional background displayed, and you can sometimes make valuable connections in groups or threads, it’s not the ideal platform for the majority of your professional networking needs. Generally speaking, Facebook is best used for your personal group of friends and family members. Linkedin is a great place to market your professional skills and to stay in contact with your connections. On the platform, be sure to:
- Include a professional profile
- Start conversations with colleagues
- Endorse connections for skills
- Keep up with the latest healthcare developments
- Provide positive comments on your connections’ posts and profiles
- Optimize your page with keywords relevant to your field in healthcare
9. Be Charitable and Volunteer when Possible
As a healthcare professional, your spare time may not be plentiful, but you will find that volunteering for a local organization, especially one relevant to your field, pays off. Search online or in the local newspaper to find a medical facility or organization that’s looking for experienced volunteers. Donating your expertise is a great way to expand your