Networking is the Best Medicine
5 Ways to Boost Your Career Through Your Contacts Network
Networking means the action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.
If the term “networking” makes you think of people in suits, all wearing “Hi, My Name Is…” labels, scanning the room for influential people to talk to, as you stand awkwardly in the corner, you are not alone. However, modern networking is actually not a painful process, and it can have a significant impact on your career prospects.
Here are five easy ways you can boost your veterinary career without the awkwardness of name labels!
Maintain an active presence on social media
If you thought social media was just for posting funny memes and cute cat videos, think again.
Social media can be one of the most valuable tools to reach out to other veterinary professionals, highlight your skills and expertise, connect with possible future employers, and keep up-to-date on trends in the industry.
- Keep your social media profile updated
Employers are increasingly using social networking sites to post jobs and recruit job applicants. Recruiters, hiring managers, and employers are also using social media profiles to get a sense of potential employees and whether or not they might fit with the organization, based on what they like, dislike, and post.Therefore, you want to build up your LinkedIn profile before you need to look for a job. Keep it updated with your most recent skills, groups, and employment information. Like your resume, you should ideally update your social media profiles each time you do something worthy of note.
- Stay active with professional connections
In addition to keeping your social media profiles current, you should make an effort to communicate with your network actively. Join professional groups on LinkedIn and Facebook and take part in the discussions that interest you.
Volunteer for committees in your industry associations
Some of the associations you likely already belong to are another valuable networking tool. Professional associations are increasingly using committees and task forces made up of volunteers to address specific issues and give their members a voice.
The Board of Directors of The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) appoints members to a variety of committees, task forces, and trusts on everything ranging from Animal Welfare to Education Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates to International Veterinary Affairs. You can check out a complete listing of the AVMA committees and task forces.
Grow your knowledge and your global network
There is tremendous value in growing your global professional network. Organizations such as the World Small Animal Veterinary Association do much of their work through volunteer committees and initiatives that bring together experts in the field from around the world.
Some non-profit veterinary organizations, such as the British Veterinary Association (BVA) exist to eliminate the knowledge divide in the industry.
No matter what aspect of the veterinary profession you work in, there are professional organizations that could use your expertise in any number of ways. In return, you will expand your knowledge base and connect with like-minded individuals who can help you grow your career.
Make any educational event a networking opportunity
Good networking opportunities have an educational component to them. http://www.veterinarybusinessmatters.com
Any educational opportunity, whether it be a workshop, an online webinar, a day-long program, a professional conference, or multi-year degree, is a chance to connect with other professionals naturally.
Education is powerful in that it promotes the sharing of ideas, new ways of looking at issues, and challenges the way we view the world and our profession.
Rather than dreading the term “networking,” think of it as an opportunity to learn and grow as a professional.
Attend professional veterinary meetups…perhaps remotely for the moment
Local meetups are a valuable way to bring professionals together for question and answer sessions, panel discussions, and conversations about various ways other professionals are approaching issues in the workplace.
Local meetups also offer smaller, more intimate settings than larger conferences, thereby providing more opportunity for discussion and question-answer opportunities.
Additionally, meetups offer opportunities for recent graduates or new professionals to talk with veterans in the field and even find out about employers who are looking to hire.
Take 5 minutes each day to boost your networking
Networking doesn’t need to be a full-time job. Try doing something simple each day that can have a significant impact on your career, such as:
- Recognize a coworker’s achievements – Look for opportunities to highlight a coworker’s skills or the positive way he or she handled a situation. Share an email with your department or office. Not only will you feel good, but others will also be more likely to recognize your achievements. You also show that you are a team player.
- Ask a professional to have lunch with you – Think about whom you would like to meet in your field of work. Do your research and know what it is you would like to ask before you ask someone to take time out of her busy schedule.Once you have done that, draft an email mentioning that you know she is swamped, but you would appreciate if she would be willing to take 30 minutes out of her day to meet with you. State why you find her interesting or admire the work she has done. The chances are that most people will be flattered and happy to meet with you. You will have some stimulating conversations and increase your professional network.
- Reach out to a mentor – Check in with a mentor regularly. A relationship with a mentor can be a valuable tool. He or she is not only someone with whom to talk shop, but a person to bounce ideas off of and to speak with outside the workplace. Your mentor can also be a tool for building your professional network.You might ask her whom she suggests you meet in the area. Alternatively, consider asking, “What workshops would you recommend I attend?” or “Do you know any veterinary nurse groups that meet up in the local area?”
Think of networking more as interacting, building, and maintaining relationships over time. Keep in touch with the people you connect with, whether it be from volunteer committees, social media, mentorship relationships, or educational experiences – it’s a good thing to do.
You never know when that perfect opportunity will arise, and when it does, you want one of your contacts to think of you.
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