In today’s blog and video post, we’ll discuss why it’s so important to build your professional network as soon as you begin nursing school and how to use that network when it’s time to start looking for a job. Over 70% of jobs are found through networking and nursing is one of the most competitive professions. If you want a job in your field of choice when you complete your nursing degree, you’ve got to know people in the industry to gain the competitive edge.
Why start building your network in nursing school?
Just like a hunter-gatherer would store food for the winter, it’s important you build up your resources before you need them. Luckily almost every nursing school has a Jack in the Box or Taco Bell near by so in this case, we’re talking about professional contacts. It’s a good idea to build up and maintain professional relationships with people you meet that can help you find a job before you graduate nursing school.
Plus you get to play the student card! Alumni and other contacts are more likely to want to help you while you’re still a nursing student. It’s less pressure on them because you’re just asking for advice and not yet looking for a job. So if you want to pick the brain of someone who is in the nursing specialty you desire to enter, now is the time to do it. You have a chance to develop relationships while there’s no pressure, and those contacts will be more willing to help you when it’s time to transition to the work force.
Who to add to your professional network
Not the Alpha Tai Omega fraternity. Not the spandex guy who’s always doing yoga and meditating on campus. A professional network is a group of contacts that you can reach out to for career advancement. Whether you need advice, tips, a professional reference, or just plain help finding a job your professional network can mean the difference between landing your dream job or working in mediocrity.
So where’s a good place to start building your network? Begin with the basics. Try starting with nursing faculty and classmates that share your professional interests. Faculty can be a tremendous resource as they generally have advanced degrees, are well connected in the nursing industry, and have years of experience. A recommendation from a prestigious faculty member can really go a long way on a resume. Classmates from nursing school can be a helpful resource, too. Maybe not so much in the beginning, but you never know when you may be ready for a career change. Keeping in touch with nurses you went to school with may be able to refer you to their employer or let you know about career opportunities.
Use Nurses Lounge to maintain your professional network
Now that you’ve found some people you think would make a good addition to your professional network, how do you maintain relationships with them? Facebook is for your social contacts and nursing is a niche that doesn’t really work on LinkedIn as it’s geared more for the business professional.
Nurses Lounge is a professional network just for nurses. As a member, you can:
- Create a profile that highlights your credentials as a nurse including licensure, certifications, awards, memberships and fields that can’t be found on non-nursing networks. It’s like an online resume you can edit at any time, gives you a professional index in Google searches, and you can share it with recruiters and potential employers.
- Follow your nursing school, employers, specialties or any nursing organization that you want to keep in touch with or learn more about.
- Most importantly, invite and connect with any nurse you think may be a valuable asset to your network. As colleagues in the Nurses Lounge you can exchange recommendations, send each other direct messages, share content, and maintain relationships that can lead to your career advancement.
Creating an online professional profile and being an active member of a network of colleagues has never been easier. Nurses Lounge gives you, the nursing student, all the tools needed to maintain and grow professional connections. Give yourself the best possible chance to find your desired job with the Nurses Lounge.
Start building your professional network today and don’t leave school without it!