6 Career Networking Tips for New Grad Nurses
By Victoria Bey, contributor
Get your career off to a profitable and enjoyable start when you build a professional nursing network. According to independent research conducted on LinkedIn, networking is the preferred job hunting method for both employed and unemployed job seekers. Whether you’re already working or actively seeking employment, learn valuable professional networking skills that will advance your career.
6 Nursing Network Tips for New Nurses
Nurses may be in high demand, but that doesn’t mean you need to settle for the first job offer or scour the newspapers for available positions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms that a focused search for new career opportunities is most successful when professionals cultivate and develop their professional networks, which certainly applies to nurses. Here are six easy ways to make new contacts.
1. Join professional network sites
According to the Forbes Coaches Council, job search trends in 2018 indicate a coming shift in the way candidates market themselves and find opportunities. With more than half a billion users, LinkedIn remains the top professional networking site and should be your first choice when you begin the development of your nursing network.
An increased focus on digital networking means that new nurses must learn to make connections online if they want access to the best opportunities. The Coaches Council advises job seekers to submit a video resume, use storytelling to your advantage and include relevant keywords within your profile. Following these tips will help potential contacts find your profile.
2. Become an active member in professional organizations
Another great way to begin networking is to become an active participant in one or more professional organizations. The American Nurses Association is ideal if you haven’t yet identified a nursing specialty and want to get to know seasoned nursing professionals in your area.
If you already have a specialty, check out organizations in your niche, such as the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses or the Emergency Nurses Association. Membership in a professional organization imparts numerous benefits, such as access to continuing education, professional resources and admission to member-only events.
3. Look to your classmates to start your nursing network
If you’re not employed, you can start to build your nursing network by contacting former classmates. If you no longer have access to your school’s student database, do a simple Google search for their name and city. You can usually find a Facebook or Twitter account, if not a LinkedIn profile, within a few minutes.
4. Attend local meetups for nurses
Online professional networking sites are convenient and offer access to thousands of potential contacts, but they don’t offer valuable, consistent face-to-face opportunities. When it comes down to it, whether you meet a professional contact online or through an in-person group, you’re less likely to be offered an interview unless you’ve spent some quality time conversing in the real world.
One way to incorporate face-to-face meetings into your schedule is to join nursing groups online through platforms like MeetUp or Facebook. Simply search for nursing groups in your area to get started.
5. Network outside of your specialty
You never know what the future holds, so focusing your nursing networking efforts on individuals within your nursing specialty may handicap you in the long run. There is no harm in befriending nurses from different departments within your organization or connecting with nurses working in another specialization. You may decide you want to explore a new career path in the future.
6. Don’t sell yourself short
Recent graduates tend to get nervous when it comes to marketing their skills, but it’s important not to sell yourself short. Professional networking is the best way to advance your career and make new friends, even if it requires you to leave your comfort zone temporarily.