Developing a network of colleagues and contacts is something that all professionals in all industries should do, including physicians. Whether you are employed by a hospital, work in a group practice, or own a private practice, networking is a way to advance your career at any stage.
Yet how, where, and why we network has changed a bit over the years.
Here are seven things to keep in mind when developing your professional network as a physician.
Networking Has Many Benefits
Most people know that you need a network of industry, but some people don’t realize why it’s as important as it is.
There are many benefits to having a solid professional network, and it’s not just about finding job opportunities or getting references and recommendation letters.
A network can also be a support system of sorts. In addition to helping you find jobs, your contacts can also help you stay abreast of industry trends and innovations. They can even assist with personal growth and help you battle challenges like physician burnout.
If and when you decide to go into practice for yourself, your network can also be a source of qualified candidate referrals.
Attend Networking Events
It’s long been tradition for physicians to attend in-person professional events. But since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s a popular alternative that doesn’t require you to shake hands and look someone in the eye:
Virtual events are more popular than ever. So if there’s a conference coming up that you can’t attend in person, consider registering to partake in their hybrid and virtual events.
Connect With Colleagues on Social Media
Whether you meet people in person or virtually, follow up and connect with them on LinkedIn and various social platforms. Digital connections can easily become reliable sources of information, including future job prospects.
When we say “connect with colleagues” we don’t just mean following their social pages but then never interacting with them again. We mean connecting with them by sharing information, asking questions, and answering questions they may have.
For example, if one of your connections has a question about wRVU compensation, send them the link to this wRVU guide. If someone from out of town is considering applying for a job in your state, give them some insight into what it’s like to live and work in your region.
Join Professional Associations
No matter what your specialty is, there is a professional association for physicians in your field that share your concerns. Becoming a member of a medical organization or society is an easy way to connect with like-minded physicians in pursuit of similar goals.
Not sure which organizations to join?
This list of medical associations and societies is a great place to begin your search. Along with specialty-specific organizations, consider joining broader associations like the AMA as well.
Whether you have a passion for animals, the environment, or raising awareness for a specific illness, volunteering is one of the best ways to expand your contact list. It’s also a way to create a robust network of a wide variety of different types of professionals.
Through community engagement and volunteer efforts you can form strong bonds with all sorts of industry leaders, including lawyers, hospital administrators, technology pros, and engineers.
Consider Working Locum Tenens
Most people start building connections with the people they work with face-to-face. Working locum tenens allows you to have many face-to-face opportunities with a variety of different types of healthcare professionals across a variety of workplace settings.
Connecting with colleagues through locum tenens assignments is an excellent way to stay abreast of what’s happening in other regions and in other medical facilities.
Be Sure to Connect With the Right People
It’s important to network with the right people, but who the “right people” are depends on what you want to get out of your career.
Just starting out as a young physician?
It’s a good idea to connect with peers as well as more experienced professionals that have been in the industry longer.
If your goal is to transition to working as a physician consultant you might want to connect with people in the legal field or insurance business. If you have a new idea for a medical device or startup, connect with people in tech. If your goal is to teach, build relationships with people in academic settings.
Anyone and everyone can be a valuable asset to your network, so keep an open mind and connect with people other than just fellow physicians.
From joining medical associations to attending in-person events and cultivating relationships through social media, there are all sorts of new and traditional ways to build your network. With a little time and effort, you can start developing your network now and continue to expand it throughout the duration of your career.