Network Your Way to Your Next NP or PA Job
Why networking for NPs & PAs? The personal and professional connections you build can lead to your next job!
Did you know that over two-thirds of all job offers are discovered through networking? That’s a compelling statistic. But it’s not the only reason we recommend networking for NPs and PAs. For nurse practitioners (NPs) or physician assistants (PAs), networking events are a great way to gain knowledge about the healthcare industry. You can learn about other practices and make friends who understand what you do all day!
Networking doesn’t have to be intimidating. It’s simply showing up and meeting people who already share many of your interests and passions. So step out with confidence. You can look forward to learning something from each person you meet.
Three of the most effective ways to build your network
Informational Interviews – Meeting one-on-one with someone who works in the field or position you’re considering can be a great way to gain insight. Most professionals are happy to share their experiences over a cup of coffee, as long as it’s clear you expect nothing more than helpful information out of the meeting.
Clinicals – Nursing students can take advantage of their clinicals to make professional connections. Introduce yourself and get to know the staff at the facilities you visit. They can answer questions about the real-world working environment and may have job leads to share. If there is a facility you particularly enjoy, it’s fine to ask: “Do you see yourself hiring a nurse practitioner within the next 6-8 months?” Expressing your interest can help open professional doors with employers.
Professional Associations – Joining a professional association adds credibility to your resume, but the real benefits come from participating in chapter and national events. You’ll meet healthcare professionals at all levels of your industry, including many hiring managers who are actively seeking qualified candidates. Most associations also offer career development resources, training sessions, leadership opportunities, and newsletters to help you stay current.
For advanced practice providers, we recommend membership in one or more of the following associations:
- National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP)– NAPNAP.org
- American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) – AANP.org
- American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) – aap.org
- American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) – aapa.org
Networking Rules to Remember
As you get out and build your professional network, there are also a few rules-of-engagement to keep in mind.
Have appropriate expectations. Very few connections will have an immediate payoff, such as a lead on a job opportunity. There is still great value in meeting other people, learning what they do, and seeing your profession from someone else’s perspective.
Give to receive. In any relationship, both parties must contribute. Be generous and give of yourself. Even if you are just starting out, you have much to offer. Be encouraging, smile, tell a humorous story, or give a recommendation on a new local restaurant.
Be positive and professional. You want to always maintain the same professional image at networking events that you keep up at the workplace. This pertains to your attire and your attitude. Dress professionally. Don’t gossip or share too much information. And, avoid negativity about your profession or your employer at all costs.
Invest in Yourself
An investment in your professional network is an investment in your future. So make this practice part of your routine, whether you’re currently searching for a job or are happily employed. The relationships that you build today can reap dividends for you in the years to come.