The art of virtual networking is powerful for building your nursing career. Whether you are actively looking for a new job or not, networking is an essential practice for professionals.
But if in-person networking events aren’t exactly inspiring to you – here are five ways you can start virtual networking today, from the comfort of your home.
I’ll give you tips for how to find & engage with the right-fit people, so that you can expand your network and score new opportunities that you might not find anywhere else!
In today’s episode, I’ll give you tips for:
- How to find & connect with the right people online
- Where to network and make friendships & new professional relationships (without the intimidating or traditional in-person networking format!)
- How to use your professional organizations to your advantage
- Connecting with people on LinkedIn – including search bar tips
- How to build your network on social media (even with a small following)
LINKS & RESOURCES MENTIONED TODAY:
- Click Here To Read The Full Transcription for this episode!
- Listen to Networking Secrets Part One & Part Two on The Nurse Becoming Podcast for more tips on how to expand your professional network and deepen your professional relationships.
- I’m hosting a free Speed Networking series for NPs and NP students and I’d love to see you at the next one! RSVP here: https://www.theresumerx.com/connect
Listen to more episodes here!
Five Ways You Can Get Started Virtually Networking
Attend a Speed Networking Event
Speed Networking Events for NP’s are a great way to network, connect, make friendships, and socialize in a very non-intimidating type of format. Even if you are an introvert, like me, I can almost guarantee that virtual events, like this one, will not be painful, and in fact will be very fun!
I definitely encourage you to seek out these kinds of online networking opportunities. And I’m going to make it really easy for you because I’m excited to tell you that I’ve committed to hosting public speed networking events this year in 2022. Nurse Practitioners of all kinds and NP students and new graduates are welcome! I’d love to see you at the next one! RSVP here: https://www.theresumerx.com/connect
Take Advantage of your Professional Organizations
Many professional organizations hold virtual events, presentations or webinars to give opportunities to their members to learn and grow their network. Whether you are a member of a conventional professional organization, like AANP, or your local state NP organization, or state nursing organization, or a specialty organization, or even a member of The NP Society, these organizations are all offering virtual events, and learning opportunities for you to connect with others. So take advantage of this benefit that you are already paying inside of your membership!
Search & Send Connection Requests on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a great way to network virtually, as well as a place to put in some time during an active job search. Whether networking is your top priority, or it’s a priority as a part of your job search strategy, LinkedIn is really a Can’t Miss place that you need to be showing up.
Here is an example for how you can network on LinkedIn:
- Head to the search bar on LinkedIn and search “nurse” or “nurse practitioner” plus your city and state in that search bar and see who comes up.
- Take a look at their profiles. See where they work. See what they’re putting forth in there. Check their About Section and Headline, and see if they’d be a good person to connect with.
- Don’t be spammy or send hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of requests to people. You definitely want to be able to keep up with and engage with those who you connect with on LinkedIn.
- On LinkedIn, it’s entirely acceptable to send connection requests to people that you don’t know, but with whom you have something in common. And when you send that request, you have the opportunity to personalize that request and send a little note. And in that note, you can say something as simple as “Hi, __First Name__. I’m expanding my nurse practitioner network in Connecticut here on LinkedIn, and I came across your name and thought it would be good to connect.”
Another way to network on LinkedIn is to explore hashtags that are relevant to you, or even search special interest groups. These are some lesser used functions on LinkedIn, and maybe a little bit advanced of a strategy. But I know even just the hashtag, #nursesonLinkedIn will bring up a whole bunch of posts from nurses and leaders who are very active on LinkedIn and who can be great people to connect with.
Network Through Social Media
Love it or hate it, social media really can be a great place to connect with others. Similarly to LinkedIn, on whichever social platform you’re using you can search for names, you can search for locations, hashtags, or brands or accounts that are relevant to you professionally. Start to follow as well as engage with their page, make connections, reach out to them if you have a specific question or a specific ask.
When I was first starting the @theresumerx Instagram account, I didn’t have a lot of followers. I started a feature called Nurse Takeovers where every week I featured a different nurse or a different NP, working in a specialty, or working in any sort of clinical setting, and I had them take over my IG Stories for the day. I had them answer questions, and they provided a behind the scenes look at what it was like in their world and to be in their specialty and in their setting. It was a strategy for me to help grow my account because I invited folks who had platforms larger than mine; they would promote to their followers and say, “Hey, go follow me over @theresumerx today”.
While it was certainly a strategy for me for growth and visibility, it also was a great way for followers to connect with those folks and learn from them. And it was also a great way for me to network with different creators, different personalities through social media, and frankly, so many of them are now good friends of mine, which all started with me making a connection and making an ask and bringing them on my platform featuring their voice and finding a way for us to network.
It goes to show you that social media can be a really powerful place to connect. And this particular opportunity obviously served me well in terms of my networking, as well, it was beneficial to the person who was featured, and it also brought networking opportunities to all of our followers by showcasing them to everyone.
Network Through Old Fashioned Email
Basic email might perhaps be the most underrated way to network these days.
I think this approach works best when you are interacting with your existing network rather than folks who don’t know. And I’ll give you an example:
You could draft a mass email, or individual messages, to all of your current connections – people in your world, family, friends, colleagues, etc. In the email, ask them for an introduction. You can just be super transparent and say that you’re looking to expand your network of local NPs or nurses or providers, and ask if anyone could introduce you to anyone. “Can anyone introduce me to anyone who works for University Hospital? Would really love to ask some questions, I’m considering working there in the future and I’d love to expand my network, and you know, can anyone introduce me to someone?” It’s that simple!
So those are my five ways that you can start virtually networking today. I’d love to know, which one are you going to start with?