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 job search. 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 Amazon 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,