According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, networking is the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business. Although primarily used in business, networking is becoming a critical skill nurses need to master too!
Benefits of networking
· Get a job – like they say, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Sometimes, that’s true.
· Find opportunities – whether it’s writing an article for publication, presenting at a conference or even getting involved on a committee – most nurses find out about these opportunities through networking.
· Grow – nurses who network with others expand their knowledge and skills. Networking enhances professional development!
Ultimately, nurses who actively network, succeed.
1. Be prepared
Try to find out who will be attending a networking meeting. Identify a few people you really want to meet and spend time learning about them BEFORE the event. Also, bring your business card (oops. If you don't have one - get one – even if you’re a student).
2. Be more interested in the other person than yourself
You may have a goal for networking; however, you want to focus more on the other person. Why? It’s because networking is about building relationships with others. It takes more than one meeting to do that. So, you don't want to come across as being self-centered.
3. Network with people who are successful doing what you want to do
If you’re a student and want to work in OB, you must network with OB nurses. Likewise, if you’re an experienced nurse who wants to be an educator – you must network with other nurse educators. Ask them for advice; learn from them; and build a relationship with them.
4. Network with people beyond nursing
It's always good to make connections with people who work in other industries - law enforcement, IT folks, teachers, etc. You never know when you might need advice.
5. Gather contact info
Ask for contact information from everyone you meet. And....follow-up!!! The general rule of thumb is to follow-up within 1 week.
Now, get out there and network!
I hope these tips help you to succeed. Thanks for choosing to become a nurse. I’m cheering for your success!
Take care and stay connected
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