Networking is a strategy used to cultivate relationships that you can leverage as you develop your career. By being genuine and proactive, you can gain connections who provide you with information, support and job leads as you embark upon your profession.
There are many myths about networking. One may think, “I’m shy, so I can’t network,” or “Networking is bothering people who don’t want to help you.” Yet think of it as an extension of simply being friendly, engaged and willing to listen to others’ stories. There is nothing phony or artificial about networking if you have a good strategy in place. Start by:
- Thinking about who you know
- Organizing your contacts
- Being prepared and doing your homework
- Figuring out how you want to connect
- Being sincere and thoughtful
- Asking the essential questions
Believe it or not, more social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are increasingly becoming actual networking hubs. Some companies regularly post jobs on Twitter. Following a company or high-profile individual on social media is an easy way to show interest and stay up to date.
LinkedIn is the standard of professional online networking. Make sure your profile is up to date and as complete as possible. You can check out the features of other job sites, many of which offer forums and ways for users to connect. Don’t forget to make your profiles user-friendly. We all know by now how to delete (or hide behind a privacy filter) any information online we wouldn’t want a potential boss to see. But the info you do choose to share can be an asset. Have a clear headshot, share dentistry-related activities you participate in and pass on pertinent information about the field. Contacts will see you’re approachable, engaged and hoping to progress. If you’re not a big social media user, don’t worry — this is just one of many ways to network effectively.
One of the biggest benefits of effective networking is the potential to land a job. After networking with individuals, keep your momentum and apply to jobs where you have made connections to increase your chance of getting in.
If you do get an interview, be prepared. Research the practice or organization you are interviewing with so you can feel comfortable having a knowledgeable discussion with your interviewer. Touch base with the recruiter regarding the details of the interview: time, place, who you will be interviewing with, etc. You can also ask the recruiter about the attire for the interview. It is always best to be overdressed rather than underdressed. Review your CV and be able to provide specifics about your experience. Have some questions prepared for your interviewer.
It is a best practice to arrive to an interview early. Be courteous to all the people you meet during the visit, not just the interviewers. Not only will the interviewers be evaluating you and your job-related skills, but others who come in contact with you during your visit may impact whether or not you will fit in with the culture. Some interview visits may include an office tour and the opportunity to meet other team members.
After your interview, it is a nice gesture to send a thank-you email or card to those that you interviewed with. Follow up with your recruiter to find out what the next steps are in the interview process so you can know what to expect. Hopefully, it will be an offer!
For more than 20 years, Heartland Dental’s support teams have been curating networking opportunities for supported doctors across the country, allowing dentists to connect with peers they may not have had access to elsewhere.
This blog post was sponsored by Heartland Dental.