Care can be a very demanding sector to work in, so if you’re looking to be successful in your career, prepare to go the extra mile as qualifications and experience can only take you so far.
Networking is crucial to success as a care worker. By building a strong network of trusted contacts you’ll gain the support you need to deal complex work situations that could come your way.
In fact, 41% of professionals have expressed a desire to network more frequently, but claim that they don’t have the free time to do so. Progressing in a career in care can sometimes be a bumpy ride, so it’s a good idea to seek out support from professional relationships – the people that are “in the know”.
How to network in care.
Carers should take care to avoid having a siloed approach to their job, especially when trying to move up the career ladder - a solid support system will get you over the most difficult obstacles.
And the benefits aren’t just for you. One of the most rewarding aspects of networking is sharing tips, advice and industry news – remember, sharing is caring!
So, if you’re a care professional, who wants to get ahead in their career, just follow these three simple networking tips:
1. Pitch yourself like a pro
Pitching isn’t just for people in marketing and finance, it’s for everyone. This means that your “elevator pitch” – a brief and memorable introduction - must be refined and delivered in under 60 seconds.
Fran Hauser, startup investor and author, says that conveying a message effectively is only 7% content and 93% delivery.
Learning how to talk about yourself in different scenarios like job interviews, or when you meet someone new, is fundamental to great networking. Practice makes perfect, and the best way to get good at this is by talking about yourself…to yourself!
If you can answer the question “why you?” you’re off to a great start. Begin by listing your professional skills and goals for the future. Practice your speech until it feels 100% natural. That way you’ll give yourself the best possible chance of making a positive impression when it really counts.
2. Be smart with social media
Last year, according to Statista, the total number of social media users in the UK had reached over 39 million users, with estimates going up to 42 million users.
It is often the case that care professionals overlook the benefits of social media, but the truth is that sites like Facebook and LinkedIn can provide useful insights into who you are and where you’re headed.
Professional profile photos on your social media pages, and a LinkedIn account with a comprehensive, up-to-date profile, are a must.
In fact, LinkedIn is great for widening your personal network - last year the social media platform reported a whopping half a billion users globally. You can opt into joining groups that are relevant to your industry, contribute to discussions, ask questions and put forward ideas. Before you know it you’ll be recognised by your peers as someone who is passionate about healthcare!
Also important to keep in mind is that there’s no shame in asking for endorsements or recommendations from previous employers or clients. If you get this right, it might open doors you wouldn’t expect to be opened.
Our care recruiters claim that this is the number one networking tip you can’t afford to forget:
3. Professional and approachable always works
85% of people prefer face-to-face interactions, as they believe that it builds stronger, more meaningful business relationships.
Our recruiters in the care sector believe that networking is the best way to open up opportunities - even if you’re not the most experienced candidate. They also stress that if you’re attending an event you should always go in with an open mind. Be approachable and remember to ask if you’re uncertain about a specific topic or question.
Networking is a two-way street, so if you’re at a conference or get-together, don’t fall into the trap of trying to be someone you’re not. First impressions count, so just be you!