Networking in Nursing to Achieve Results

Did you know that almost 70 percent of all job openings are not openly advertised? Most positions are filled through word of mouth, and the individuals who know how to effectively network are often hired into these roles. Networking is the practice of cultivating and maintaining connections with a circle of people who can render assistance, boost your professional prospects, share their valuable knowledge and 'put in a good word' for you. Nurses Job Hunt Article


Networking in Nursing to Achieve Results

When hunting for a nursing job in today's ultra-competitive employment market, networking is an essential strategy that results in the desired outcome if utilized properly. In fact, the lion's share of positions are never brought to light on traditional avenues such as career websites or the employment ad section of the newspaper.

According to the Peace Corps (n.d.), nearly 70 percent of all jobs are unpublished and are found through networking and personal referrals. Even if a job is openly posted and advertised, if you have networked to the fullest extent, an associate on the inside of the company can mention your name to the human resources director or unit manager to increase your chances of receiving a call for an interview.

Good job vacancies are often uncovered by word of mouth, so the prudent job seeker needs to form a network of resourceful people.

Networking is the skill of forming and maintaining personal and professional connections with a range of people who can offer their assistance, enhance your occupational prospects and share what they know. Even though networking comes easily to some individuals, the whole idea of cultivating current relationships and forming new ones seems like an uphill battle for others.

Your personal views on networking are cultivated to a certain point by elements such as your degree of extroversion or introversion, upbringing, and interpersonal skills.

Some of us are introverted, and therefore, become mentally depleted when fostering new relationships or maintaining the ones we already have. Also, many of us never learned the art of effectively networking with people and/or did not see it taking place while growing up.

In addition, a few of us were explicitly taught to avoid networking with people for the purpose of finding work. For instance, when my father would get laid off, he never told any friends or relatives that he was unemployed because it was "none of their business."

He took his chances with newspaper employment ads and career websites; conversely, this tactic resulted in painful months or years of joblessness before a job prospect would become a reality. On the other hand, family members and friends could have given him leads on jobs if he had not been so intent on keeping his personal situation a secret.

To get started with networking, you must first build a consistent network of people. The people in your network can include just about anyone, including former instructors, schoolmates, neighbors, coworkers, friends, relatives, former supervisors, and acquaintances. Once you connect with people with whom you are not extremely close, you should aspire to maintain the connection by keeping in touch through occasional phone calls and/or meetings for coffee or lunch several times per year.

The point is to establish a relationship of mutual trust and positive esteem before gathering the information you need. Moreover, never ask for information on job openings if you are meeting the person for the first time. You need to build the relationship over a period of time before asking for favors from anyone.

Most importantly, start amassing a network of people well before you need it. The time to start crafting your network is during nursing school. If you are a seasoned nurse with many years of experience, it is still not too late to form a personal network of individuals with whom you can exchange valuable information. Finally, always be cognizant that networking should be a two-way street in which mutual respect rules the road. Good luck!


Peace Corps. (n.d.). The Art of Networking. Retrieved April 17, 2014, Peace Corps

TheCommuter, BSN, RN, CRRN is a longtime physical rehabilitation nurse who has varied experiences upon which to draw for her articles. She was an LPN/LVN for more than four years prior to becoming a Registered Nurse.

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1,026 Posts

Very nice idea. Thanks for sharing.


389 Posts

Eek, I am your father! It's SO hard to break that cycle. I am stoic by nature and don't share my what I perceive to be my personal problems easily. I almost get anxiety attacks at the thought of striking up the conversation. I have a doc appointment with a doc that I have known for decades. My husband insists that I tell him that I am now an RN (I never share that either and my husband tells people on line at the grocery store) to see if he can give me leads. I feel like, why should he care? Is there a class somewhere for this?

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

176 Articles; 27,610 Posts

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.
ceebeejay said:
Is there a class somewhere for this?

Classes for this type of issue are referred to as "social skills training for adults" or "interpersonal skills training" or "soft skills training."

But yes, your doctor might know of some cool job openings at a partner's office or some small specialty doctor's-owned hospital. Docs are valuable people to have in your network.


2 Posts

It is all about building your personal brand. Networking is key. Online presence is a significantly important enabler. It certainly helps reach a wider network of people to connect with and stay engaged.

Nice! Thank you for this!


32 Posts

Specializes in med surg, nicu.

The author of what color is your parachute talks about this. How most jobs are not posted and how networking is best. As a shy introvert this is very hard! Networking would also help me to get a recommendation for a nursing fellowship in grad school sigh

Specializes in Nephrology.

Thanks for this. I am an introvert and networking has always been a dreaded thing for me. But now that I'm in nursing school, I've been working on it, and so far I think I'm doing okay. When I meet a nurse, nursing supervisor or instructor that I like and seem to connect with, I ask them (in person) if they're on Linked In and if they are, I ask if I can add them to my network there, and if not, I try to get an email address for them. Then I try to follow up with an email or message thanking them for their help and then keep in touch every so often by asking for nursing advice, finding out how they're doing, etc. I hope this will work because I know nursing is a small world and who you know can make a big difference. Plus I often get great advice when I ask for it!

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