The application of skillful networking can make the difference when it comes to finding ultrasound jobs or learning about career opportunities. Developing a high level of networking competency involves more than getting proficient on social media. High level networking for sonographers who are interested in career opportunities requires carefully building a system of relevant contacts, on and off the internet, and establishing mutually beneficial communication.
The Art of Networking
Networking to find ultrasound jobs is an art form. It involves developing effective communication skills, having a willingness to reach out to others who may or may not be familiar and making a commitment to nurturing relationships. Comparing the process to picture painting, the sonography student starts with a blank canvass but methodically adds colors and shapes to achieve the desired end result.
The colors and shapes of the networking ‘portrait’ are those participating in the networking process. People are usually comfortable networking with their friends, but not everyone is willing to write guest blogs on the websites of strangers or walk into a room full of strangers at a health fair and start ‘meeting and greeting.’
However, it takes online and offline interactions to fully develop a productive network that produces sonography job referrals. The goal is to develop a strong network and then use effective communication skills that are likely to lead to ultrasound jobs.
Tap Into the Hidden Market of Ultrasound Jobs
Social media is all about networking, but the sonography student needs to network with purpose. Friends and family are important members of a network because they know many other people outside of the network. The sonographer may also have friends working in a variety of healthcare facilities because friends often have similar career interests. Family, friends and peers represent a first level of networking.
The second level of online networking involves creating professional networks. People can join sonographer groups on LinkedIn. One of the groups is “World Wide Sonographers.” This particular group offers networking and training because many posts include real ultrasound images and a discussion on what the image means. Besides offering valuable training in which physicians and sonographers share patient experiences, jobs are posted.
In the LinkedIn search box, type “sonographer.” Results include people, groups, jobs, companies, and more. Pick and choose the groups to follow based on interests like OB/GYN or cardiac ultrasound. A sonographer is much more likely to hear of available OB/GYN ultrasound jobs by communicating with those already in the field.
Sonographers can follow a similar procedure for other social media sites like Facebook and not-so-obvious sites like Pinterest. The goal is to develop a presence on the internet where people interested in sonography are likely to be found.
It is easy to lose site of the fact that networking offline remains just as important as networking online. For example, sonographers registered with the ARDMS can accept travel ultrasound jobs through a staffing agency for the purpose of making connections while continuing to look for a permanent position. This is a form of networking.
There are many ways to network face-to-face:
Stay in touch
Attend college or university Diagnostic Medical Program events before and after graduating the program to maintain contact with faculty and clinical supervisors.
Attend healthcare workshops and medical equipment vendor trade shows
There are numerous conferences and trade shows held around the U.S. For example, FUJIFILM SonoSite holds conferences throughout the year. The Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (SDMS) has published its annual conference schedule for 2017 here.
It is advisable to join SDMS as a sonography student, but the greatest benefits are found by taking advantage of face-to-face contacts. Attending trade shows can produce new contacts, and many companies are looking for sales representatives to sell new ultrasound technology. Taking a sales trainee position as a lead-in job is one possibility when it is proving difficult to find a sonography position locally.
Also, do not limit attendance to just ultrasound-focused events. Productive networking involves meeting people who know people of interest. Attend workshops and trade fairs concerning healthcare in general. The nurse may know the ultrasound technology department head who just told her yesterday that a sonography position was coming open. That is how networking leads to results.
Volunteering is an excellent way to make new contacts while doing good at the same time. There are numerous ways to volunteer. For example, some cities hold periodic events to deliver healthcare services to the homeless. Medical centers and nonprofits frequently put out a call for volunteers to help with health fairs. Start looking for opportunities to volunteer that will lead to meeting people in the local healthcare industry.
Refining Networking Skills
The most effective networking is focused. For the student completing ultrasonography training, the focus is on communicating with as many people as possible who may have some kind of connection to ultrasound, either through direct knowledge or through other people. Following are some tips for refining networking skills to tap into the hidden job market:
Though a sonography student cannot apply for ultrasound jobs until a Diagnostic Medical Sonography program is completed, the network building should start while in school. Make a goal-oriented plan for networking, and manage the network to get the best results in terms of connections, references and job leads.
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