It’s not just me saying it and it’s probably nothing new to you, but your most valuable dental hygiene job hunting combination is you and your friends.
Don’t get me wrong – job boards are extremely important – lots and lots of hygienists find work this way. Postcards have absolutely proven their merit in finding work for my clients. And a great resume beats even an average resume every time.
But those still don’t compare to who you know and a consistent effort to making new connections throughout your career.
According the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 70 percent of all jobs filled are done so without even advertising the job. Jobvite.com recently provided research that referred employees get hired on an average of about 1-2 weeks faster and report greater satisfaction with the job.
And all it amounts to is employers and job seekers communicating within their networks – but does YOUR name come up in the those conversations?
Here’s some quick reminders of ways launch your networking skills:
- Most Important: When you begin networking shift your mindset from what others can do for you and instead focus on what you can do for them. There’s an old saying, “Help others get what they want, and they will help you get what you want.” Research studies have backed up this principle of reciprocity for a long time and it rarely if ever works in reverse.
- Join and get involved in your local ADHA chapter/component (you won’t get anything out of simply joining, you have to participate regularly)
- If you don’t have a chapter near you, consider starting your own or starting a simple study group of hygienists. Even if there are only a handful of hygienists in your local community, it really does help to get together regularly (quarterly) to talk about the profession and share best practices.
- Re-acquaint yourself with previous employers and co-workers. Stay in contact with these people. Obviously some you never want to talk to again, but too often we severe ties with co-workers we do get along with and with social media these days it need not be so.
- Use social media to foster and create new local relationships (ie LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, even Pinterest!). Don’t be afraid to connect with someone you don’t know or that you have only met once – some with shy away from that, but others will embrace and you can do a lot of good for your career by reaching out.
- Focus extra attention on the network closest to you (within the radius you are willing to work). You never know where you will eventually land and so it’s good to reach out beyond your community, but the bulk of your efforts should be on connecting with those nearest to your and your career objectives.
- Don’t think of networking as a quick job-hunting strategy – it’s best described as a career mindset. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. But that’s okay, a year from now or five years from now, you won’t care that you’ve been networking for five years. The only thing that will matter at that point is that you have an awesome collection of contacts you’ve helped out and who are anxious to now return the favor.