NAPNAP Career Resource Guide
Successful Networking for Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
If you are in a position to let people know you are searching for a new opportunity or if you are a new grad, you can cast a wider net to the people you are connected to within your network. People want to help you; you may be pleasantly surprised by their positive and helpful responses. Personal contacts are an effective source of job leads. Every time you add a job you are interested onto your list, add a list of your potential contacts. If you are working with a recruiter, do not duplicate efforts by sending your resume to your network yourself. If a hospital receives your resume from two sources, it may not reflect well on your application.
Formal networking works, too. Attend local NAPNAP chapter meetings or NAPNAP’s national conference and specialty symposia to help you learn about new jobs and work environments, build your personal network and take advantage of opportunities for professional development. Ongoing career and professional development is the best way to be ready to make a move when the time comes.
Don’t forget to use online networking to your advantage, too. NAPNAP offers all members the chance to participate in our Member Network to ask questions and share resources with fellow NPs. You can use the directory feature to seek out colleagues across the country. Social media platforms can also be used for networking. Posting and tweeting relevant and reliable pediatric healthcare content will help you build a following and establish your reputation as an influencer. Employers, peers and the media may find you through your social media presence. Remember that if you use social media for professional networking, be careful to avoid your personal life from crossing into your professional contacts. You don’t want your friends to post or tag you in any potentially embarrassing situations.
- Past and present employers and supervisors
- NAPNAP members
- Members of other professional associations or committees
- Alumni relations and faculty
- Online contacts
Although your ultimate goal is to find a job, use your networking opportunities to gain background information first. Learn more about the person you are speaking with; whom do they know, where do they work, what committees are they on or organizations are they involved with? What is the culture like where they work? Do they know of any opportunities or do they have any ideas for you to help you reach your goals? Try to leave each meeting with either contact information for a job possibility, a lead for someone else to talk with or a promise of a follow-up call.
Your networking approach should fit your personal style. If you find networking uncomfortable and don’t like asking for help, follow these suggestions:
- Start with the people you know best. Success builds confidence in approaching others.
- Write down and then practice what you will say to your network contacts.
- Work with an experienced recruiter specializing in your field. Before committing, investigate a recruiter’s services and any fees. Most do not charge you a fee and will help you create your road map, review your resume, pair you with jobs you are interested in, set up your interviews, coach you how to prepare for interviews and follow up with you after interviews.
Outreach Guidelines for Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
Approaching contacts may involve attending meetings of your local NAPNAP chapter, writing letters or emails, making telephone calls or in-person visits. Set a specific goal for each call or visit. Decide which of the following you can reasonably expect from that individual:
- A referral to an employer
- Information about their organization or another employer
- Open positions within their organization or they have heard about
- Advice on your search
- Names of other individuals to contact
Your first contact may simply be to inform the person that you are seeking a new position. Follow up later, after the contact has had time to consider how he or she might help, using one of the approaches mentioned earlier. Here are some general ideas for approaching your pediatric nurse practitioner networking contacts:
Writing a letter: Refer to the cover letter guidelines and remember to use your referral contact’s name, highlight experience and accomplishments and establish a follow-up action item.
Sending an email: Remember that the same rules for writing a letter apply. In all written communication sent in your job search process, carefully proofread for spelling and grammar errors. Your writing represents your professionalism.
Calling your contacts: You can use the telephone as an effective vehicle to sell yourself. Don’t let your nerves stop you from making calls that can help your job search campaign. Try these tips if you fear picking up the phone:
- Email ahead of time with a brief description of what you want to discuss and a request to set up a time to talk.
- If you call without a time set up, let the person you are calling know that you are considering a job change and you have a couple of questions. Ask if this is a good time to talk or if there is a better time for you to give them a call.
- Prepare a script to guide you through the conversation—develop opening comments, questions you have, selling statements, and closing remarks.
- Develop a summary of your accomplishments, experience and skills in 1-2 sentences each. Then have in-depth information to discuss if they inquire.
- Be enthusiastic and enunciate clearly, pause and let them speak. Listen attentively.
- Use the referral’s name, when possible, to create interest and a connection with the contact.
- Ask questions that cannot be answered with a yes or no. Begin sentences with words such as what, how, or why.
- Ask for additional contacts: “Can you refer me to others in the field that might be able to assist me?”
- Request permission to call again.
If you decide to call a contact, be prepared to leave a voicemail message:
- Prepare a message of 15-30 second duration;
- Pretend that you are talking to a person rather than a machine;
- Say your name and telephone number clearly, at a pace that’s easy to understand. Repeat your phone number at the end of your message.
If you are trying to reach someone, try calling in the early morning, during lunchtime, or in the late afternoon. However, consider that this may not be the best time for them to have a conversation. It should be an introduction, always ask if it is a good time for them and if not try to set up an exact time to return the phone call. Be mindful of differing time zones.
Consider preparing a 30-second or less summary to introduce yourself in the opening comments. This can be called an “elevator speech.” Be brief and focused. Plan on limiting your summary to no more than 5-6 sentences.
Example: As a pediatric nurse practitioner in a primary care practice, I have excellent skills in diagnosing conditions, establishing care plans and providing anticipatory guidance. I’ve also been responsible for taking calls and teaching at a local college.