Networking for your career

Networking is essential to moving your career forward, no matter what profession you are in. It isn’t just for people who are in sales, nor is it about sales. It is about strengthening relationships and developing a solid reputation for yourself.

Networking is not just for people in permanent full time work. It is also important for those in part time or casual placements. In fact, it is probably even more important in those cases because sometimes landing your next work placement depends on who you know.

It is a good idea to keep your network group active, even when you feel like you don’t need it. For example, if you are happy in your current job and you aren’t looking to be promoted or looking to move elsewhere, it could be easy to forget about networking altogether. But then what happens when suddenly you want to pursue a different role or start moving up the career ladder again? Instead of having to start networking from scratch each time, simply keep active within your community so you can put feelers out for new jobs and opportunities, or ask for references, as soon as the need arises.

Great reasons to network

Although networking is a great way to find out about new jobs and opportunities, there is more to it than that. For people in professions like agency nursing, it can be about job satisfaction as well. As the work takes you from hospital to hospital, it can sometimes get lonely as you are forever the new person. However, if you take each placement as an opportunity to network and make new friends with your colleagues, you will end up with a host of business friends throughout many different hospitals. This means you will be more likely to know people as you turn up to each job placement, making that particular engagement more enjoyable as you get to work alongside colleagues you already know and get along with. Of course this also means there are more people available for references as placements come up within the same hospitals they work in.

Another great thing about getting to know people and expanding your network of industry professionals is the amount of knowledge you can gain from it. People from various places might have different workplace practices than what you are used to, so you can learn a great deal by mingling with them and brainstorming on ways to solve problems you are currently facing. It also means you are more likely to hear about industry conferences or helpful courses from around the place.

If your main reason for wanting to network more for your career is to move up the ladder or find new opportunities, then you are going in the right direction. A current report released by LinkedIn revealed that in 2016, 70 percent of people were hired at a company where they had a connection. 35 percent of the surveyed professionals said that just a casual conversation on LinkedIn Messaging ended up leading to a new opportunity.

So even if you aren’t looking for a new placement right now, keeping your networking circles active means you might stumble across the perfect job before you even realise you want one!

Places to network

If you are a casual worker or an agency nurse, the best form of networking is by joining up to a reputable agency who already has strong relationships with all of the right places – i.e. they’ve already done the networking for you. But to continue building on your own reputation, there are other places where you can network that will help in your career as well. Such as; online social media like LinkedIn or relevant Facebook Groups, courses and of course industry conferences.

Online social networks are good for regular contact, sharing information and even just casual chatting within a group of people with similar interests and careers. You can be active in this network as often as you like – monthly, weekly or even several times a day.

Courses and conferences happen on a far less regular basis, but when they do their intensity makes up for their lack of regularity. If you attend a course or conference you will be spending a considerable amount of time in one room with a lot of people who all share the same interests or background as you – that is, your profession. This gives you the chance to get to know people on a more in-depth level, and also expands your professional network to people you may not have had the chance to meet and get to know under other circumstances – for example, people from hospitals you have yet to work in or people much further along the career path than you.

Networking Tips

The best tip to remember is this; networking is a two-way street, so make sure you give as much as you take. Don’t just utilise your networking circles whenever you need something, and then drop them when you don’t. Jump in there and help everyone out as much as you can. You can do this by posting or sharing if you hear of job openings or new courses being offered, or by sharing relevant articles or workplace practice changes amongst your circle.

A professional network runs so much more smoothly when everyone is contributing. It also raises your profile as someone who is knowledgeable and helpful and will assist in forming more genuine connections.

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