Your nursing school graduation is a wonderful time filled with a sense of accomplishment and pride. When the time to hunt for jobs arrives, many nurses turn to internet searches. While this method can be valuable for eager job seekers and provide context for the types of positions available, networking within your chosen profession often proves more fruitful. Making personal connections with other nurses and healthcare providers is likely to open many doors to new career opportunities.

A recent blog post from states, “Professional networking is the best way for nurses to find jobs.” It goes on to say, “Both Yale University and Cornell University cite the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) when claiming that 70% of all jobs are found through networking.” Additionally, the site discusses how many hospital-based recruitment programs source successful candidates through employee referrals.

For this reason, developing a relationship with an active nurse willing to vouch for you and your expertise can go a long way. Employee referral programs also typically work through an incentive program, increasing probability of participation within the organization.

Social Networking vs. Professional Networking

If the importance of professional networking within nursing is so clear, why are many healthcare professionals not utilizing this tool to gain access to jobs?

The BluePipes blog post also discusses nurses’ perceived issues with the process, stating, “A social network can be defined as a network of social interactions and personal relationships. By contrast, a professional network is a network of professional interactions and professional relationships. Many nurses tend to be more comfortable with the concept of a social network. Discomfort with professional networking is probably related to the idea of ‘active networking’ (the process of seeking out other professional individuals to connect with). However, if we approach active networking with the mindset that we are seeking to establish relationships that are mutually beneficial, then it becomes more palatable.”

Opportunities for Networking Are Everywhere

Many new job seekers feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to begin. The good news is that almost everyone you know may provide a potential lead. For example, a post suggests, “Networking can mean attending local meetings of nursing organizations or introducing yourself to nurses at other events. You can also review your contacts for anyone with the slightest relation to the healthcare industry, and ask them for introductions or leads. Former professors, classmates, and preceptors should be first on this list. Even if your friends, colleagues and family members aren’t in healthcare, they might know someone who is. Email, write, text, or call almost everyone you know, and don’t forget to regularly post status updates about your job search on your personal Facebook feed, and have a specific request or call to action in each post.”

Professional networking is an undervalued tool in the healthcare job-seekers market. Pairing this with online job searches vastly increases your potential for finding a rewarding career. Start reaching out to those you know and even some you don’t, the right job may be just a simple conversation away.

Learn more about the Nevada State College online RN to BSN program.

Sources: How New Grads Can Remove Job Search Blinders and Network

BluePipes: 5 Reasons Nurses Should Engage in Professional Networking