Whether you’re a student, recently qualified, or an experienced pharmacist, networking is key to your career, enabling you to stay in touch with peers and with developments in the profession.
Being part of a network can be a breath of fresh air, especially for those pharmacists who spend much of their time working alone or within small teams. It is also useful for pharmacists looking to develop their careers and gain experience, and particularly locums, for whom a network of contacts is invaluable for finding work.
Networking doesn’t have to be as time consuming as you might imagine, and can come in many forms, including attending events, being part of your Local Practice Forum (LPF), or even by getting involved online, through social media or one of RPS’ many groups.
Local Practice Forums
There are 48 LPFs across England, Wales and Scotland. LPFs are member run networks which run regular local meetings. Each is represented by a steering group, which is a great opportunity to get involved and to make sure that your LPF is doing all it can to meet local practice needs.
RPS online groups are designed to allow members with similar specialties or interests, but not necessarily the same geographic location, the opportunity to share information and best practice. There are a huge range of groups covering many different aspects of pharmacy, and you can suggest a new one if you can’t find what you’re looking for.
Social media is another effective way to network online. Twitter provides us with news as it happens, and pharmacy Tweet Chats are a great way to get involved in topical debates. LinkedIn is also becoming increasingly popular with pharmacists. It is a professional tool which can help you to connect with colleagues, make new contacts, find jobs or development opportunities, and share news and experiences with peers.
We’ve put our top tips together for getting the most out of LinkedIn:
- Follow potential employers to keep an eye on their news feeds and see when jobs come up.
- Connect with colleagues, endorse them for relevant skills and ask them to return the favour.
- Follow up with contacts you make at events and meetings.
- Avoid spamming people – don’t send out blanket job requests and tailor any messages to make them relevant to that person/opportunity.
- Don’t just use it for contacting friends – that’s what Facebook is for. Make relevant professional connections.
- Keep it professional – first impressions count! Don’t post content that you wouldn’t be happy for a potential employer or senior colleague to see.
- Your photo should be of you, and should ideally be a professional looking headshot (head and shoulders).
- Spend time developing your profile. Think about your career objectives and the impression you want to give to peers and employers.
- Join relevant groups and get involved in discussions, demonstrating your passion and dedication.
- Share your research and projects, demonstrating your expertise and abilities.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for advice or seek out development opportunities.
- Recently qualified? Join our dedicated LinkedIn group.
So, if you want to stay in touch with your profession and develop your career, get out there and get networking. Follow RPS on LinkedIn and Twitter, explore our online groups and check out our upcoming events.