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20 March 2024
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How to network

By Charlotte Caroff

Networking is a crucial skill within the professional world, one that everyone can learn yet is rarely taught in formalised environments. As healthcare professionals effective communication is crucial to our success, a valuable transferable skill into the world of networking. Whether you are looking for new job opportunities, seeking advice or looking to expand your network effective networking can provide you with many opportunities that are otherwise not known of.

Here are some of the tips and tricks to help improve your networking skills.  

1. Set clear networking goals

Clarify what it is you are hoping to achieve from a networking opportunity – are you looking for advice? Support for a cause or project? Research opportunities? This will provide you with focus to better prepare and frame your approach towards others. 

 2. Identify your target audience

Who is it you would like to network with - professionals within your industry? Potential mentors? Leaders in their field? This allows you to identify the different environments you should strive to network within.

 3. Develop an online presence

Often overlooked within the medical profession, online networks such as LinkedIn can be extremely valuable in facilitating networking opportunities as well as allowing you to maintain professional networks. When updating your information on LinkedIn, the two key sections in your profile are: 

  1. Headlines: add as much key information separated by “|”
  2. About: you have 2600 characters to describe you, your project and ambitions. Use keywords that people will search within the search bar - it is easier to connect with people if they can find you!

Ensure your profile is up to date, accurate and reflective of you and your goals. Whether it be online or in person, it is important to be yourself. Use these platforms to engage with others, participate in online forums and discussions.

4. Attend in-person networking events

There are various formats within which networking can take place. Attend conferences related to your areas of interest and professional goals, attend workshops and seminars. These in person events provide a valuable opportunity as like-minded individuals will be in attendance. Not all networking opportunities stem from formalised environments, remember opportunities can present themselves at all times! 

5. Contribute

Networking is a two-way street, seek out opportunities and connections but be prepared and willing to offer your knowledge and time in return. This will allow you to build stronger relationships with others and will be more valuable to you.

 6. Follow up

After meeting someone with whom you have connected with, follow up either via email or other professional route to clarify your intentions and confirm your interest in them and/or projects/opportunities that you have discussed. 

Networking is a skill that takes time to develop, not all interactions will lead somewhere. Remember networking can provide you with many opportunities but it is also important to remember the importance of contributing to your networks too. 

Happy networking!

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