Lots of professionals say they just don't have time to network. With busy schedules, having a membership in a couple of professional organizations is about as far as they get. Or, some say, they are satisfied with their jobs and not planning on a career change, so why bother going to meetings or networking events?
In addition to the basics like education, communication skills, professional experience, and an affinity for your work, knowing how to network effectively is one of the skills you must have in your toolbox.
You've heard all the reasons why networking is important and you know how to work a room. But if you don't actually get out there and do it, you're losing a valuable opportunity.
Here's why you have to make the time to network.
1. Life Is Unpredictable
You might love your job and not plan on leaving, but you could get downsized. Or you might decide to move. Or a family member could have a health crisis. Who knows what life is going to throw at you? But the more people you know and the more connections you have, any new career plan will be easier.
2. You'll Gain Insight from Talking to Others
Even if you aren't going to change careers or positions, networking offers tremendous opportunity to bounce ideas off people in your industry or who are like-minded. Are you having a staffing problem? It would be interesting to hear how managers in another location handled the problem successfully. Are you interested in executive nursing positions? A networking meeting is a great place to informally approach someone you admire.
3. You'll Be Amazed at How Much You Don't Know
You may not think you know everything in your field, but listening to speakers and hearing from peers in a networking arena will make you sit up and take notice. You will always, always learn something new by networking.
4. It's Nice to Be with Other Nurses
Let's face it – it's fun to talk shop. Other nurses get you. They have a similar drive to help people. They understand why organizing all the nurses' stations on each floor is important. They get the joys and they've lived the heartaches. Being around others in your industry validates your career choice and recharges you. Think of networking time as a way to help recharge yourself, not as a chore you have to do.
Networking takes time and effort, but it goes along way. The personal and professional rewards will be worth every minute you devote to becoming an active networker.