Whether you’re a premed or a student already in medical school, networking is important. I will be the first to confess that I am not a natural networker. I’m not great at small talk and talking to large numbers of people in a short amount of time is such a whirlwind for me. Nevertheless, building your professional network is essential as you figure out your career goals. The people you meet, whether it’s your peers or faculty members, can help you get to the next level and beyond. Here are some ways you can build your professional network!
- Find mentors in your field: Notice that mentors is plural. Just because you have one mentor doesn’t mean that you can’t be under the wing of another person. We all have different career goals and these change as we develop and find ourselves. Seeking out mentors can help you figure out the specific steps that will allow you to accomplish what you set out to do!
- Make time to meet with your mentors at least once or twice a year: A mentor-mentored relationship is only a surface level sort of thing unless you take the time to connect. I think meeting with mentors at least once or twice a year creates a bare minimum and you can definitely meet more often than that!
- Attend professional conferences: This is a great way to get involved in your field on either a local/state or national level. You can meet so many like-minded individuals at these conferences and in addition, you can participate in different talks and workshops that are leadership, advocacy, and clinically oriented.
- Use social media and email appropriately: Communication is key to building and maintaining your professional network. Let people know how you are doing!