NETWORKING & MEDICINE
“I love networking!” said no pre-med student ever. To be honest, I don’t think most pre-med students even know what “networking” actually is. I sure didn’t. I didn’t even fully understand it until about a year ago. As far as I was told, you get into medical school because of your grades, extracurriculars, and MCAT scores. Networking was not part of the equation.
The same went for residency: Step scores, interviews, rank list. Networking was nowhere to be
Now that I’m months away from graduation, a year-ish into my blogging journey, and watching my peers look for jobs (I’ll be sticking around for chief year!), I firmly believe that networking should have been a part of my medical career from the start.
So why should you network in medicine?
Because you don’t know everything or everyone! I have learned about entirely new career paths in medicine (see: future ABC News elective post) and met medical people (students, residents, attendings) who have taught me how to have a family in medicine, how to get through NICU fellowship, where to find new board study resources and so much more.
Where do you start?
I’d recommend Instagram or joining a professional organization in college or medical school. Instagram has been great because it’s on my schedule. I can message people at 1 am when I am on call or I can find people in my city to meet up with locally. You certainly don’t have to go crazy trying to be “Insta-famous.” Most of my favorite people are small accounts with similar goals of meeting other people and connecting. Professional organizations are great because they usually have a large annual meeting with lots of built-in networking events, but I always found these to be difficult places to genuinely connect with people.
And how do you network?
Full disclosure: I am nowhere near a networking expert, but I get the basics. Talk to people, follow up, and do it again. Most of my networking connections have been cold DMs on Instagram or in person meetings at events organized through social media. Some people get really into this and have a goal of “meeting one new person every day (or more).” I haven’t gotten to that level yet, but I love the concept and just have to get used to putting myself out there.
The goal of networking isn’t to make a new best friend or get you into your dream residency, it is to build a wide web of people who broaden your career options, push you to be better, and give you access to opportunities or ideas that you would have otherwise never known about. Everything else is just a bonus!
Have questions about networking? Want to know more? Let me know in the comments section!