Five Networking Myths
Multiple Choice Question. Pick the best response(s) regarding networking for nurses: a. Networking is not for nurses b. Networking is for admin-type nurses only c. Networking is good for all nurses d. Networking is helpful for landing a job
The correct answers are c) and d). Is that what you guessed?
One thing I've been learning is the importance of networking.
Less than two years ago, I was offered a writing job by someone on Twitter. I had just started writing for my own blog and I was thrilled but panicked when they asked me "How much do you charge?" How much did I charge? I had no idea. And was this a good move? I had no idea.
I had been following the well-known blogger Sean Dent on Twitter and so I messaged him and asked for advice. He graciously responded, and that began our networking relationship. Fast forward and here we both are today, in the Innovator Hub!
If you are new to nursing, it's common to not understand networking and how it benefits you. You are involved in your own nursing unit, head down, working hard. Networking has no identifiable value for you.You have the job you want, you have your best friends...why do you need to network?
It most likely hasn't been role modeled for you by other nurses, so you don't see the value. But ask any nurse leader if networking is important, and you will get a resounding "Yes".
What Is Networking?
It’s building, creating and nurturing professional connections and relationships. It enables you to learn about job opportunities. According to Keith Carlson, master nurse networker, in his book "Savvy Networking for Nurses", networking is not simply acquiring business cards and adding names to your “LinkedIn” account – it's developing relationships with people in the areas in which you are interested and staying in touch with them throughout your career.
Networking is a mindset of being ready and enlarging your professional circle.
Networking Nets Jobs
Professional networking is probably the single best approach for you to land the job you want, and even more so in challenging economic times. Networking is considered by many to be the most effective way of finding a job. Some sources say up to 70% of jobs are acquired through networking. It just makes sense. Any hiring manager would prefer to hire someone known (or known by someone they know) over someone unknown.
Many job opportunities are never posted, or advertised, but are only available by word of mouth. Or they may be posted only because it's required, and meanwhile the candidate has already been chosen. It's true that often it's not "what you know, but who you know".
If you watch long enough, you will notice that some people are promoted for unclear reasons- it may seem that it must have been because of who they knew- and you'd be right, it probably was.
Myth #1: Networking is for business people, not nurses.
It's well known in the business world that networking is important. It's simply business as usual. By contrast, nursing has been an insulated, female-dominated world of its own that eschewed anything to do with "business" because our value is caring, not making money.
But the truth is that networking in nursing happens, it just hasn't always been called "networking". Nurses get jobs and promotions the same as anyone else in any other profession.
Myth #2: Networking is for established nurse leaders, or older nurses, not me.
Networking is for every nurse, and starts when you meet your first nursing professor, or are assigned to your first preceptor. If you have friends who are starting school, please tell them that "networking starts in first semester." If you are in the hospital, you should be networking.
Nursing is a small world. The nurse who precepted you in hospital A may be a nurse manager in Hospital B by the time you graduate. Good thing you kept her/his contact information! Save phone numbers and business cards.
Myth #3: Networking is selling and I don't like selling anything, much less myself.
In the working world, you do have to put your best foot forward, make contacts, and sometimes promote yourself. Who is going to represent you if not you? It's not selling, it's more like wearing your best outfit to church.
Whether you acknowledge it or not, you have a brand- you are a brand-and you may as well let your awesomeness show.
Myth #4: I’m not an extrovert, and you have to be an extrovert to network.
You have to be yourself. Contrary to what introverts believe and fear, networking doesn't mean gregariously flitting around the conference room, business card in hand. Networking is being genuinely interested in others and making connections. Introverts and extroverts both connect effectively with others, just in different ways.
Myth #5: Networking is for administrative types, not me. I only want to be a bedside nurse.
You cannot know with certainty what you will want in the future, or even where you are going to live. Be ready when opportunity happens in your life.
Identify your network.
For the job seeker:
The people you know - friends, family, neighbors, acquaintances, teachers, and former coworkers - are some of the most effective resources for your . Those people also have networks, and the people they know can lead to information about specific job openings that are not publicly posted, or not yet posted.
You know more people than you realize.
- Go back and pay a visit to your clinical instructors. Ask for their help. Clinical instructors have strong connections to acute care hospitals, and they have friends who are nurse managers.
- Likewise, ask your preceptors to put in a word for you. Stay in touch with them.
- Contact classmates of yours who already have a job. Ask them to put in a word to the nursing manager. Ask them for their hiring tips. How did they land their job?
Expand your network.
- Facebook nursing groups share job hiring information. Participate in online social media nursing communities.
- When you attend a conference, plan to make five new contacts, and then stay in touch once you get back home.
Employee referral programs at hospitals are among the most aggressive in the country. They typically offer generous employee referral bonuses which incentivize their employees to make referrals.
Granted, the bonuses are given for experienced nurses, not new grads, but an employee referral attached to your application can tip the odds in your favor. This is one example of how knowing someone helps you.
You should be ready at all times to actively network. You need an elevator speech. We all need an elevator speech. An elevator speech is a short persuasive speech to tell others about you, and to pique their interest in you. You should have your elevator speech polished and ready because you never know when an opportunity will present. Be prepared with your speech, make eye contact and offer a firm handshake along with a genuine, warm smile. Read more about your elevator speech.
Your Networking To-Do List
- Make business cards with your name, title and contact info. Keep some cards with you at all times.
- Start a LinkedIn profile if you do not have one already. Keith's book,"Savvy Networking for Nurses", has a good LinkedIn "how-to" section. Buy his book on and find out if you're a Connector (?) a Pollinator (?) or a Shallow Networker (?). LinkedIn is so much more than a place to land a job- it's establishing your professional presence and taking your place in the online social professional world.
- Contact someone you've fallen out of touch with and re-connect.
- Update your resume.
- Join a local nursing organization and attend a meeting.
- Go on Twitter, start an account and follow me, @bhawkesrn. I will follow you back. If you are new to Twitter, you can just lurk for awhile until you are comfortable. But join. I met all of my blogging colleagues on Twitter, and received several job offers through those contacts.
- Plan to attend a nursing conference annually. You owe it to yourself. Go to my website before March 28 and enter a contest to win two tickets (one for you, one for a friend!) to the ultimate nursing conference, NTI 2016. Seriously, you might be the winner! And then you and I can network and Mardi Gras together in New Orleans. (Oh, and the giveaway is the result of me, Nurse Beth, networking with StaffGarden).
Until next time friend,
Nurse BethLast edit by Nurse Beth on Mar 16, '16
About Nurse Beth, MSN, RN
Hi friend! I'm Nurse Beth and I blog at nursecode.com Come visit me :)
Nurse Beth has '20+' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho'. From 'Bakersfield, CA'; Joined Mar '07; Posts: 861; Likes: 2,682.Mar 16, '16There is a lot of truth in that the best jobs are sometimes not listed, or listed simply because it is company policy. When I played music full time back in the day, networking was key to landing paying gigs. It is true that for every well-known pro musician that there are 1,000 more out there sitting on park benches who are just as good if not better. The difference is that the ones on the park benches are not known by people who can make a difference.
When an opening comes up in a working band, especially one that works a lot and makes good money, rarely are there open auditions for that open spot. The truth is that a working band is far too busy to audition 10's of 100's of candidates to find the perfect match. Working bands rely on networking and word of mouth to find the musician who is the perfect fit. There is competition in the music world but there is also cooperation. So let's say that working band "Band X" who had gigs booked for the next 2 years, has a big following, and makes great money (for musicians that is ) has their guitar player quit and now needs to find a replacement. The chances are that Band X is well aware of other working guitar players out there and has a list of ones that have earned respect. Often the replacement is found in another working band that has not quite achieved the level of success as Band X. For a guy like this to be offered a job by Band X would be a huge boost to his or her career. Other times the replacement guitarist might be someone who the departing guitarist recommends especially if the departing guitarist is leaving on good terms. An example of never burning bridges.
The same principle works in some areas of nursing. Say there is an opening in a highly desired area. The replacement candidate may well be someone who the hiring manager already knows, or even a recommendation from the nurse leaving that position. Rarely do they have a cattle call for awesome gigs. The reason being is that it is way too time-consuming and rarely yields the quality results as well as highly recommended candidates.
Never under estimate the power of a personal recommendation.
The Power of a Personal Recommendation - YouTubeLast edit by KeepItRealRN on Mar 16, '16Mar 16, '16The same principle works in some areas of nursing.Mar 17, '16Hi Beth:
When talking about networking I try to use a wider brush. With the advent of social media and social learning, networking for jobs is actually a small part of networking. I try to present the concept of Personal/Professional Learning Network and that keeping in contact with people who work in other hospital etc, is an important part of a nurses career. Don't just connect and network with nurses. My connections have as many non nurses as nurses. i.e. Doctors, Pharmacist, Paramedics, educators, politicians, etc. I don't think outside the box, I use a BIGGER box.
An addition to the twitter account. If you must have two accounts. One of them should be professional at all times. You should use your name, not something funny. As a CNO I've not hired people because of their email address and their SoMe handles. You can have a second anonymous account if your need to vent. Just remember that nothing is really anon online. There are plenty of cases where people have been found out and bad things happened to their job.Mar 18, '16Appx 70% of jobs are found through networking. Online postings are merely 5% to 10%. Another good way of networking is within a specialized professional nursing group.
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