Networking is a skill that I undervalued early in my nursing career but have since realized how important it is. When I was a “baby” nurse (i.e.brand new) my sole focus was getting a job and working in my new profession. Sure I was social and did social things with my friends, but I was a proponent of leaving my nursing life right where it was- at work. I rarely told people I was a nurse, not because I wasn't proud, but because I just didn’t see it as important.
Now I tell everyone I’m a Nurse Practitioner. Why? Because I now know the power of networking.
One of the first aspects of networking that comes to mind for many is networking for a new job. That’s one valid reason to do so, but there are a host of other reasons; education, social activities, future business contacts and just about anything else you can think of.
I frequently attend my local Nurse Practitioner meetings not only for the educational aspects, but also to network. The last meeting I attended I ended up with the number of an employment attorney to review future job contracts, saw old friends I haven’t seen in ages (one reminding me her new husband was a plastic surgeon if I need his services in the future), another giving me two potential job contacts and yet another telling me she just got hired on at a facility I would love to work at one day.
Do you see the trend?
Although I may not need the services they’re offering right now each one of these contacts can help me in one way or another in the future.
Now, I know you’re thinking, “Nachole these networking examples are mostly job related.” Yes. Yes, they are. Simply because I was at a Nurse Practitioner specific event. But you can network on a social aspect as well.
I make a point to network on my “social” outings. I’m a big fan of my local Meet-up (I’ve joined Meet-ups ranging from hobbies to general business topics). When I meet new people I always ask people what they do for a living; basically asking without asking, “What do you do and what can you do for me?”
I know that sounds selfish and in some ways it is, but you have to remember you have to have something to offer as well. You can put in a good word for an applicant to your boss, offer to precept students if you’re an NP, or maybe you could offer your expertise on one of your many hobbies the possibilities are endless.
Networking in my social life has been of great value to me. When I moved into my new house and needed a painter my good friend, Nicole, referred me to an excellent painter who painted my whole house for a fraction of what other painters quoted me. I’ve also found contractors, landscapers, and was given police speed trap locations in my neighborhood by my next-door neighbor who happened to work for the local police department!
Bottom line- it pays to network regardless of your setting.
How do you network in your day-to-day life? What has networking done for you?