Looking for a new job in respiratory care these days isn’t as easy as checking the online job listings and applying for those that seem the most promising. With fewer positions out there, you have to dig in and do some networking. While a lot of that can take place online – for example, through the discussion lists on AARConnect – there is something to be said for in person networking too.
How can you meet your flesh and blood colleagues in respiratory care? The best place to find people who work in your city or state is to attend one of your state respiratory care society meetings and/or continuing education events. Of course, walking in the door to one of these sessions for the very first time, when you might not know a single soul in the room, can be a bit intimidating. Here are six great tips for making a great first impression –
- Arrive a few minutes early: Getting to the event 10-15 minutes before it is scheduled to start will give you the chance to make an entrance that will be noticed by those who are there setting things up. Most likely one or more will see you come in and come over to greet you. You won’t even have to make the first move!
- Wear a friendly smile: Once the room fills up, people will just naturally be chatting with colleagues they already know. It can be hard for a newcomer to break into these conversations, but a nice smile can help. You don’t want to stare people down, but a friendly glance aimed at a small group can let them know you’d like to join them. If you get a smile back, go over and introduce yourself.
- Show an interest: After the introductions, make a point to ask questions that show you are interested in the other person. For example, if someone indicates they work in the NICU at XYZ hospital, follow up with some clinical questions pertaining to the care of premature infants.
- Leave your resume at home: Sure, you may have come to the state society event to find out whether there are any openings at any of the hospitals where attendees work. But these events aren’t the place for “in your face” requests for a job. They are places where you develop the professional connections that will increase your chances of learning about open positions in the future. So resist the urge to ask whether people are hiring and instead spend your time just getting to know them – and letting them get to know you.
- Follow up on leads: If you do hear in the course of a conversation that this or that department is hiring, note the name of the hospital and then follow up with the department director after the event to let him know you are interested. Be sure to reference your attendance at the state society meeting so he will know you learned of the opening while actively participating in your professional organization. That alone can go a long way to helping him see that you are a candidate worth considering.
- Go back for more: Attending just one state society event probably won’t up your chances for employment, but making a regular appearance certainly can, because the more gatherings you attend, the more you’ll get to know leaders in the profession who can help you build your career. Volunteer to serve on a committee or take on a task that needs doing and your opportunities will multiple even further!
Not sure where your state society meets or when? Check out their website for more information. Links to 46 of the AARC state society websites are available here.