Networking for New Nursing Grads: Striking a Strategic and Successful Balance

Hunting for a job as a recent nursing grad is a task that can present a number of unique challenges. After all, how does one prove their competency in a career that they are brand new to? Doing it all on your own can possibly prove to be too much to handle. You may need to seek out help from others who are more experienced in the field or who have an understanding of how to find a job in nursing in the first place.

Networking is the concept of meeting people in your field or the field you want to enter, and forming a professional relationship with them. Networking is an effective approach to finding a job because you’ll have the backing of established members of the trade to help you find an appropriate position. Their clout will do wonders as they approach prospective employers on your behalf.

When beginning the networking process, you’ll want to be careful in how you approach professionals and how you interact with them. Here are a few tips for proper networking for new nursing grads.

  1. Put Yourself Out There

Finding professionals to work with can be challenging in itself, but if you put yourself out there with a positive attitude and enthusiastic approach, you will have much more success than if you are timid.  If you need help with self-promotion or feel unsure of yourself and your abilities, think of the type of nurse you want to be. Once you have an image of your future self as you want to be, you’ll be able to emulate that in real life. Ask around to see how others perceive you, how your resume appears, and if you need to boost your communication skills. Close friends and family will have worthwhile insight into how you can improve your networking skills.

  1. Don’t Overwork you Connections

Your network connections are there to help you, but don’t forget that while they may feel vital to your success, they might be making big sacrifices to help you. Instead of overwhelming the people in your network by asking them for multiple favors at a time, identify what each member can help you with and limit what you ask them. For instance, asking one person to help arrange an interview as well as put in a good word for you and give you a tour of the facility is simply asking too much. Instead, identify who can help you with what and don’t ask them for more than one thing at a time.

  1. Be Involved

It might be tempting to let your networking connections do all the work for you. That’s what they’re there for, right? Not really. A good network will help facilitate your entrance into the field, but it isn’t their responsibility to make sure all of your demands and requests are met. You should be actively involved in the planning of every step, working closely with the people in your network. If you want a connection to put in a good word for you at their facility, work with them to clearly define your strengths and what they might say to their supervisor. If a person you’ve networked with is going to set up an interview for you, practice with them so you know what to expect from the interviewer. Then, they’ll be able to give you great feedback on your self-presentation.

  1. A Contact Every Day

As you prepare to enter the workforce as a nurse, consider networking to be your fulltime job. You should be working each day to find a new contact that will stand as your professional ally. If you are struggling to find contacts in your usual circles, begin looking outside. Of course, you will want to focus on nurses, but you should also make yourself known to other members of the healthcare field such as vendors, consultants, recruiters, and specialists. Never dismiss anyone who is willing to help you, because you never know what can come of it.

  1. Listen and Help

Even though networking seems like a one-way street, it really shouldn’t be. Yes, you are finding lots of people to help you succeed in your job search and your nursing career as a whole, but you also need to be willing to help those that are making sacrifices to help you. Listen carefully to the advice or instructions you receive from contacts and be prepared to offer help to them as well. Remember that you are not entitled to their assistance. Rather, the relationship should be built on the process of give and take.