Are you networking?
Networking is an organized way of linking your contacts together as a “net.” It acts as a comprehensive resource for career information and support. Each person’s network is unique to them, but they can certainly overlap with others. As you can imagine, expanding your network allows you greater access to people, opportunities, information and business contacts.
Your business/professional network is the best way to access job positions before they’re posted and shared publicly. It can also be a valuable resource for collaboration and partnerships.
“Networking” often involves sharing your expertise, access to your skills or resources, in exchange for access to referrals, assistance, advice and more from others.
Networking is more essential for nurses than ever before
Today, many nurses are thinking of ways to pivot their careers into satisfying business opportunities, entrepreneurship, and new career paths. It’s essential to grow and utilize your existing network to improve your options. The sky is the limit! We’re all just an introduction away from a new opportunity.
To start, begin engaging with those closest to you
- Let your coworkers and acquaintances know you’re considering a change or looking for new opportunities. Sharing your situation plants seeds and may allow someone you know to make a valuable introduction. People can’t help if they don’t know what you’re looking for! Reconnect with old colleagues and classmates as well!
- Make a list of people in your existing network- colleagues, people you attended school with, family and friends. Then make a list of those you would like to know/meet. Ask your network for introductions and referrals. Having a personal recommendation opens doors and helps build some trust and interest even with those you haven’t met yet.
- Join digital networking platforms like LinkedIn. It’s easier than ever to create a professional profile and begin conversations with people in and outside of your field. LinkedIn is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms, and its business focus helps make collaborative, creative and resourceful discussions possible. You can let hiring companies know you’re available and customize your profile page like an interactive resume that thousands and even millions of eyes see daily. There are droves of nurses and other healthcare professionals on LinkedIn.
- Attend workshops, seminars and professional events where you may meet and discuss business ideas face to face with people in your industry. Opportunities often go first to people who are “known” and who have made a good impression. Work on social skills and confidence to “get yourself out there.”
Who is your network?
Your past teachers, classmates, coworkers, employers and friends probably come to mind first.
However, have you considered: your children’s teachers, their friend’s parents, your neighbours, people you interact with regularly at the gym, stores you frequent, and services you hire. Everyone you interact with can become a valuable contact. Consider your network a bank, and add to this investment account often.
Joining a professional organization like IBSIG can help give you instant access to numerous nurses and business professionals who are likeminded, helpful and supportive. Reaching out to business networks like Independent Business Specialty Interest Group (WeRPN) can be a vital link and source of guidance as you navigate exciting new steps in your career!
IBSIG helps RPNs harness the power of networking in EntrepreNURSEship
Get on our newsletter mailing list and don’t miss another industry update for RPNs interested in business and entrepreneurship. Plus, check out our informative links, informational documents, policy and advice to help you chart your course. We’re happy to field questions, and we’ve amassed a learning centre full of helpful info on our website HERE
We look forward to networking with you!