Pursuing a career in healthcare and wellness is an exciting journey, but one that can come with a lot of questions. Often students wonder what they can do while they are still undergraduates that will help propel their career forward now. Here are few tips on how students interested in healthcare can leverage networking to help set them up for career success.
1. Join a Student Organization UConn is home to a wealth of clubs and organizations for students interested in healthcare and wellness from the Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students to the Allied Health Sciences Club to the Psychology Club. Joining a club or organization will expand your network, strengthen your résumé and help you develop valuable skills. It will also help with any future graduate school applications.
2. Seek An Internship Among the first steps in launching a career in healthcare in wellness and building your network is through professional internships. These unique opportunities allow students to gain the experiences and contacts necessary to succeed on the job. While not every internship results in a job offer, internships pave the way for future employment.
3. Get Involved in Professional Organizations Every healthcare and wellness career area has its own professional organizations. Professional organizations offer training, conferences, and networking opportunities. They’ll also help you stay up to date on the latest ideas, practices, regulations, and technology developments that are relevant to the career field of interest to you.
4. Incorporate Networking into Your Weekly Schedule Students interested in healthcare careers should maintain connections with past colleagues and acquaintances from internships, jobs, classes, and student organizations. However, this can be time-consuming and difficult to track, so a good rule of thumb is to focus on a few key individuals. Students should incorporate networking into their weekly schedule, such as making time to meet up with former supervisors and colleagues for coffee.
5. Leverage Social Media Certain social media sites, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, allow you to connect with industry and professional organizations, as well as individuals. This will help keep you up to date on industry developments, leaders in your field, and position openings. LinkedIn is especially useful for reaching out to potential mentors and experienced professionals who may provide future references.
6. Say “Yes” to Cross-Training Opportunities When possible, take every opportunity to cross-train into different positions, whether in internships or part-time jobs. Being cross-trained will equip you to better handle new tasks, as well as allow you to work with new and different colleagues while giving you plenty of chances to build lasting relationships with people you might otherwise never work with or meet outside of work. You never know where these connections might lead!
7. Stay Open and Flexible Healthcare professionals should always have a career plan, but you should also remain open to alternative paths and unexpected opportunities that may arise. For instance, many nurses traditionally go from being staff to charge to lead nurse. However, students should consider other career pathways and associated networking opportunities. You never know what you might learn!