8 Networking Tips for PAs
Access a network of 60,000 PAs
January 22, 2020
By Kate Maloney
Whether you’re a new PA graduate, a seasoned PA looking for exposure to a new specialty, or you’re having to move across the country because of family commitments, networking will play an important role in landing the position that’s right for you. Don’t worry if you haven’t had to recently think about your resume or your interview skills – you work in an in-demand field, and, in our increasingly connected world, networking and job searching have never been easier.
1. Research in-person networking opportunities specifically for PAs.
AAPA’s annual conference offers a number of career-related events specifically for its attendees. Take advantage of these unique networking and career opportunities, and meet us in Nashville! The Opening Reception on Saturday, May 16, is a great opportunity for PAs and PA students to mingle and chat with their fellow Conference attendees. The PA JobSource Career Fair will be held Sunday, May 17 – Monday, May 18, so stop by and talk with many PA employers. Additionally, AAPA 2020 will have PA Meet Ups, fitness classes, coffee breaks, and other opportunities for you to strike up conversations with PAs you haven’t met yet.
If you can’t make it to Nashville, AAPA offers other PA-specific events throughout the year. 2020 Musculoskeletal Galaxy, brought to you by AAPA and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, will be held in Atlanta from June 3 – 7. The 2020 Adult Hospital Medicine Boot Camp will take place September 12 – 16 in Phoenix, Arizona.State and specialty organizations also offer career-networking events, as do large employers, alumni networks, and other professional conferences.
2. Find virtual connections.
Don’t worry if you can’t find something local – all you need is wi-fi to network with more than 60,000 PAs. AAPA’s online members-only community, Huddle, is a great place to ask questions, share advice, and learn from other PAs who have experiences similar to yours. Huddle features a directory, which you can use to locate and connect with PAs in certain cities or in certain specialties. Huddle also offers a career development tool called Mentor Match, which you can use to match with a mentor or mentee anywhere in the country. With Mentor Match, geography is no longer an obstacle. Simply enroll in Mentor Match, select your criteria, and get started today.
3. Put your best face forward.
You’ve heard the phrase “dress for the job you want,” but what does this mean for an experienced PA at a local networking event or a PA student at AAPA’s annual conference? You will need to carefully review the event materials – often there is a dress code included. You also should think about what would help you build rapport with a healthcare professional or PA administrator whom you might be meeting. Just as you would feel out of place wearing a ball gown to a casual happy hour, you probably want to ditch the sweats or white coat in favor of looking put together, unwrinkled, and professional.
4. Read the room.
There is a time and place to be the life of the party if that is your sort of thing, and a time and a place to have collegial and focused conversations. Tune into the vibe of the room and be respectful of the conversations around you. You don’t want your behavior to be remembered negatively at any point– you never know whose path you will cross in a hiring situation.
5. Ask an easy question.
For any networking event, it is good to have a couple of go-to questions prepared to start conversations with fellow PAs. Especially if you are uncomfortable networking or even talking to strangers, an easy question like “What brought you to tonight’s event?” or “What’s been your favorite thing about being a PA?” will have you midway through a conversation before you know it.
6. Share your passion.
In a room full of job-seeking healthcare professionals, you need to be memorable. An easy way to set yourself apart is to share your interests and passions – whether that’s a highly specialized area of practice or an openness to lots of different positions. Don’t worry too much about having an agenda or sales pitch; your passion and dedication will come through when you’re honest, and other job seekers and potential employers will pick up on that.
7. Dust off your resume and update your LinkedIn profile.
Haven’t touched your resume in two (or more) years? Spend some time before a networking event updating it and your LinkedIn profile. Not only does this reinforce your own achievements and bring accomplishments to the forefront of your mind, it also shows that you’re serious about the next steps. You always want to have a ready-to-go document if someone asks for it, and it will be far less painless if you tackle this ahead of time. Additionally, you will not be scrambling and will have time to review…and review…and review again, so that the final product is error free.
8. Ask for their number – seriously!
If you’ve met someone who is particularly interesting or insightful, you should feel comfortable asking for their contact information. Networking is not always about landing your next position, so finding a way to remain in communication is important. If trading phone numbers or emails seems awkward, you can always connect through social networks.
If you aren’t a member of AAPA, join today and gain access to a network of over 60,000 PAs. Because sometimes only another PA understands what you’re going through.