Professional networking is the art of effectively communicating your strategic value to individuals or companies. Talented networkers engage with new connections in a personable way and showcase the value of a potential working relationship. Networking can occur in person at specialized events or online through social networking sites. Whatever the medium, networking must include a personalized element. People skills are highly valuable in this endeavor. Always aim to make positive, lasting impressions on your colleagues to benefit from networking opportunities. These contacts can help career starters get their foot in the door when they don’t have much experience. Use your recent entry into medical assisting as an asset. Your recent education and training means the field’s newest developments are fresh in your mind.
In addition to finding a job in the medical assisting industry, networking can also help you share knowledge and resources with colleagues. Collaboration is an essential component of continuing to learn and improving your work performance.
How Do You Network in Medical Assisting?
Different Types of Professional Networks in Medical Assisting
The three types of networking, as identified by Harvard Business Review, include operational networking, personal networking, and strategic networking. Operational networking typically functions on a micro level among team members working on assigned tasks. The potential downside to this approach is its primary applicability to internal networks and the fact that it might not lend itself to forming external connections.
Personal networking, alternatively, is the type of networking that comes to mind when people think of networking. It involves using existing connections to forge new professional, symbiotic relationships that benefit both parties. Unlike operational networking where partners are clearly defined by their membership on the team, personal networking relies on the networker’s discretion. They may choose to include or exclude partners as they wish, so relevant contacts are not always immediately clear. Strategic networking focuses on prioritizing and sourcing future tasks and best suits established medical assisting professionals.
Networking Events in Medical Assisting
Networking events play a crucial role in the medical assisting field. In such a competitive industry, you must differentiate yourself to find a good job and advance your career. Networking events let you hone your self-promotion skills and connect with a variety of professionals. Often held at hotels or convention centers, networking events facilitate the presentation of lectures, seminars, and job fairs. They may include question and answer sessions with experts in the field. Some networking events hold social events such as mixers to encourage colleagues to get to know each other in a more relaxed setting. The actual process of networking varies. Most people engage in relatively brief interactions and exchange business cards for later follow up.
Elevator Pitches in Medical Assisting
Highly skilled networkers have perfected their elevator pitches. An elevator pitch is a short introductory speech that sums up your professional story. It should be about 30 seconds long and include information about your current role in the medical assisting industry and an example of the contributions you’ve made. You may want to highlight your future career goals and how you can add value to a potential employer. Memorize your speech and be comfortable enough with it that you can recite it in an engaging and conversational manner when an opportunity arises. Don’t get bogged down in superfluous details or information about your personal life.
Social Networking Sites for Medical Assisting Professionals
You may think of in-person events when you contemplate professional networking, but don’t forget about online resources. Social networking sites offer medical assisting professionals opportunities to interact with each other for the purposes of career advancement, collaboration, and resource sharing. LinkedIn is an excellent resource, but it is certainly not the only one. Browse this site for 20 resources to benefit those in the medical assisting field. Online networking enables users to interact with people from all over the world. However, many find that networking online is less personal and leads to less impactful connections than face-to-face interactions.
Tips for Networking in Medical Assisting
Though the process of networking and attending events may seem intimidating at first, you will develop more confidence and ease as you gain experience. Use the following tips to make the most of your networking opportunities and avoid some common pitfalls.
- Ask Questions: Though your goal at a medical assisting networking event may be to introduce yourself to many people and convince them of how you may be a valuable contact, don’t underestimate the importance of asking questions. This demonstrates that you care about your colleagues’ work and the value they bring to relationships.
- Record Your Thoughts: You will meet many different people at a networking event, and these interactions may run together when you try to recall the details of any one encounter. Taking notes after each meeting helps you remember which features you found to be of value for follow up.
- Watch Your Body Language: Always project confidence and poise by smiling, engaging in eye contact, keeping an open posture, and shaking hands during introductions. Take advantage of non-verbal cues to communicate ease and comfort as well as your desire to make genuine connections.
- Learn About Potential Contacts: Before you attend a networking event, research the individuals or businesses you might encounter. After learning more about their work, you can emphasize in conversation the ways in which you may be able to work together.
- Help Others Network: Not every connection will be valuable in your work or career advancement. However, if you keep these contacts in mind, you may be able to help them connect with someone at the networking event. If you initiate a fruitful connection for others, they may be inclined to do the same for you, broadening the network of people you can access at the event.
Networking Event “Do’s” for Medical Assisting Professionals
- Set Goals: Decide what you hope to achieve by attending the meeting. Do you wish to acquire new clients, business partners, or service providers? Focus your attention on those who may lead to the contacts you want in order to make the most of your time at the event.
- Dress Appropriately: In a first-impression situation, people make judgments about others based on appearance. If you want to project a serious and professional image, be sure your clothes are clean and pressed, demonstrating your ability to dress for the occasion.
- Bring Business Cards: In a room full of people meeting each other for the first time, you shouldn’t expect that new contacts will be able to remember your name after an initial encounter. Bring business cards that contain your name and contact information so the people you meet can follow up.
- Be Concise: You probably won’t have much time in each face-to-face interaction at a networking event. Make the most of your time by presenting yourself and what you offer in a concise and friendly way. Your contacts will appreciate that you value their time.
- Follow Up on Connections: To ensure you don’t get lost in the shuffle, send a follow-up email shortly after the event. Include some detail that will help your conversation partner recall what you spoke about and how you can provide value.
Networking Event “Don’ts” for Medical Assisting Professionals
- Distribute Paper Copies of Your Resume: When you’re in a meeting, take advantage of the opportunity to showcase your personality and talents. Handing out your resume only detracts from your presentation. If you have made a good impression, a business card allows your contacts to reach out for further discussion.
- Use a Shotgun Approach: Every group event is an opportunity to create new contacts. You are more likely to get a better result from creating a lasting impression with a few people than a quick introduction with multiple people.
- Interrupt or Talk Over Others: It is important to demonstrate respect for others when conversing at networking events. Interruptions are rude and do not create the kind of impression you want to leave with new business contacts. Most work environments are collaborative, and networkers seek partnerships with those who value others’ input.
- Be Intimidated: Each person at a medical assisting networking event has strengths and skills to offer. When meeting new contacts, emphasize your assets and make your best effort to appear confident without being arrogant. While others may have greater experience than you, don’t let intimidation keep you from promoting your talents.
- Neglect to Follow Up on Connections: Most attendees at networking events meet many people and may not remember each interaction well. If you fail to follow up on connections, you run the risk of being forgotten.