Call me crazy, but I find cooking a new recipe very relaxing. I pour myself a glass of wine, let the kitchen fill with the sounds of my latest favorite jams and get to work. Something about having the steps of the process all laid out makes the project seem very simple regardless of how complex the cooking technique may be. Fortunately, stress-free recipes don’t only apply to food. And, I’ve got a recipe dog-eared in my book for finding your next nurse practitioner job.
While the internet is rife with job boards and employment search engines, personal connections are often the most productive way to land your next position. If you’re new to the nurse practitioner career, not accustomed to reaching out to others in a professional capacity, or new to an area, networking can seem like an implausible task. But, there is a simple recipe for building your professional network as a healthcare provider, a step that could land you your dream job.
Step 1: Pre-Heat the Networking Oven
Most people are happy to meet with you over coffee, for happy hour, or for a 30 minute chat in their office for an informal meeting. People like to talk about themselves. So, to start your network, all you need is one or two names of healthcare professionals in your area. Ask a medical director, nursing supervisor, fellow nurse practitioner, professor, or MD coworker if they have a free hour to meet with you. Request the meeting by saying something along the lines of “I admire your success as a ___________ and would love to talk with you briefly about how you arrived in your current position and get any advice you might have for someone like me trying to further my career.”
Step 2: Gather the Ingredients for Your Network
During your chat with said healthcare provider, administrator, or other professional connection, take a few notes and ask questions. Learn from those with more experience than you. Thank your connection for meeting with you. End the meeting with one ask-“I am trying to build my professional network and was hoping you could help. Can you suggest one or two other people that might be valuable for me to meet with in the healthcare industry?”. People love to help, so likely they will suggest a few contacts.
Step 3: Mix It Up by Setting Meetings
Cement these new networking prospects as professional connections by following up with one final question-“I appreciate your help! Would you be able to help me with one final thing, emailing these contacts to let them know I will be reaching out?”. By asking your connection to reach out to suggested new contacts, you increase your chances of landing a meeting.
Step 4: Let Your Growing Network Bake
Repeat steps 1-3 with the professional connections referred to you in your first meeting. Before you know it, you’ve built a substantial professional network setting you up for nurse practitioner career success!
Step 5: Ding! You’ve Landed a Job
There’s no need to expressly mention you are looking for a job in these meetings. Certainly don’t ask for a job in these meetings. You positioned the get-together as a way for you to gather career advice and build your professional network. Asking for a job may leave your new connection feeling duped. Simply let your personality and ambition shine. Then, guess who will be at the forefront of your new connection’s mind when he/she gets wind of a nurse practitioner job opening?
Building a professional network may not seem like the most efficient way for nurse practitioners to find work, but in most cases this route will leave you better off than blindly submitting your resume online. Not to mention, having a network in place leads to unmatched opportunity as you grow as a nurse practitioner. You never know where your career might lead!
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