8 Professional Networking Tips for Healthcare Professionals

Build an Active Professional Network to Advance Your Medical Career

Group of people standing by windows of conference room, socializing during coffee break
Professionals networking at a conference. Caiaimage/Martin Barraud/Getty Images

You’ve probably heard the saying “It’s not what you know, but who you know!” and this is certainly most evident when it comes to searching for your ideal job. In healthcare, because of the technical nature of the role, knowledge and education are naturally necessary, but having connections to help get your foot in the door definitely helps!

Networking is an old skill with a new twist, thanks to the Internet!

Now, in addition to shaking hands and exchanging contact information at meetings or parties, you can also network from the comfort of your own home. Here are some tips for networking that could help to start or advance your career in healthcare:

Start early.

High school and college offer many opportunities to join organizations that will allow you to expand your network later. Many organizations offer alumni activities or directories as well as websites or forums to maintain contact over the years.

Join professional associations and attend meetings when possible.

Recruiters find their way to membership lists too, so be sure you’re ni the directory. Most healthcare roles are represented by a national society or professional association, whether you’re a doctor, a tech, or an office worker.

Never stop networking – Even if you have a great job.

Make networking a part of your regular routine. Try chatting with people about their professions and their contacts.

If you have any existing contacts who could be helpful to another person, offer to introduce them, if you know your contact is open to networking. The best time to network is when you’re gainfully employed – you’ll come across as confident and successful which will make you more interesting and attractive from a professional standpoint.

Networking is much like dating – you’re more attractive when you’re “taken”!

Assume each person you meet is a valuable connection.

In other words, don’t underestimate someone’s networking value, even if he or she is not in the healthcare industry! You never know, a new acquaintance you meet at a party could have a friend/sister/dad/cousin who is the CEO of a hospital or pharmaceutical company… you get the idea!

If you leave a company, be sure to leave on good terms, and stay in touch.

Never ever burn bridges! Even though it would feel so great to finally tell off your boss, please resist the urge! Keep the lines of communication open, if not with your immediate boss, then at least with other senior colleagues. Many of them will end up at different companies later, including one where you might like to work, and you’ll be very glad you’re on good terms.

Combine online networking efforts with face-to-face, personal networking.

Don’t limit yourself to one method of networking – the more methods you utilize, the more successful you will be – networking is a game of numbers. With so many social media outlets available to you today, networking online is easier than ever, and paramount to staying connected with important people in the healthcare industry.

When networking online, be sure to use reputable sites and obey the rules.

One of the best sites for career networking online is LinkedIn.com, because it’s very professional, it’s easy to use and invite your friends, and it discourages contacting people you don’t know, unless you’re introduced by a mutual contact. Additionally, there are many groups on LinkedIn that are specifically created to foster interaction among various types of healthcare professionals. 

Online you will also find a variety of social networking sites geared towards certain types of healthcare professionals, such as Sermo or Doximity for physicians, for example.

There are also social networking sites for nurses and other healthcare professionals as well. 

Even sites like Twitter and Facebook can be a great place to connect with people for networking purposes. However, keep in mind that if you want to make a positive impression online, you need to manage your online presence and be careful what you post from a personal standpoint. 

Get out and about!

The more places you go, events you attend, and people you meet, the more successful your networking efforts will be!

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