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Building Your Network: What Does That Even Mean?

By Jason Kelly, Healthcare Recruiter, Acclivity Healthcare

When you're entering the job market, one of the most common pieces of advice is to "build your network." But what does this advice really mean? And how can you build your network if you feel like you're starting from scratch? Read on for tips on how to build your network from the ground up--and build some solid job seeking skills in the process.

Friends and Family

For some people, turning to friends and family for career advice or assistance may be an obvious first step, but for others, this may take a little work. Before you start reaching out, take a good look at your natural supports and get strategic about who you can approach for networking help. Sometimes your most supportive friend isn't your most connected friend and vice versa. While it may feel awkward to reach out to an acquaintance about networking advice, research suggests that leveraging the "weak ties" in your social network can actually lead to more opportunity. So, if that former college roommate seems to be doing well in your intended industry, take the time to write a thoughtful, friendly, professional note, and invite them out for coffee, or even a long distance phone call to catch up and shore up your connection.


Spending some time donating your time to a cause you care about is not only a great way to take your mind off the stress of job hunting, it can also help you grow your network. Be sure to choose a volunteering site that actually speaks to your passions, and then you can work on creating authentic connections to like-minded individuals (some of whom just might know about an awesome job opening down the road).

Informational Interviews

If the thought of reaching out to far-flung friends or distant cousins sounds too uncomfortable, or if you're not sure that volunteering is the right fit for you, then consider setting up some informational interviews. A more structured approach to networking than just getting coffee, an informational interview is a great way to get more insight and information about your chosen industry and role from someone who is already doing the work. And a frequent benefit to engaging in this process? A foot in the door and another "weak tie" you can contact when a position opens up!

Networking Events

Last but not least, attending networking events can be a great way to bolster your network building, but your participation at these events shouldn't be the only tool in your toolbox. When you put too much pressure on a networking event, you can get nervous or otherwise closed off to a potential opportunity. Plan a robust strategy that includes opening up your lines of communication to friends, family, and professionals in your field, and utilize networking events as part of that exploratory process. If you play your cards right, you can go into the event with a clear purpose in mind. For example, gather at least 10 new contacts and plan to send follow up emails to at least five. Or, practice your interviewing skills at least three different tables.

Growing your network can take some work, but when you are thoughtful, professional, and persistent, the work can definitely pay off. Just remember to be a great connection to others down the line once you've secured that dream job for yourself!



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For more information about Acclivity Healthcare, check out or call at 800.813.4565.
Acclivity Healthcare, 8800 East Chaparral Road #105, Scottsdale Arizona 85250, United States