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Utilize Networking to Boost Your Veterinary Career

The most potent tool in your arsenal is your network. Have you been keeping up with your contacts? Networking is an integral part of having a healthy career. It’s the process of exchanging career-based information and developing and maintaining these social and professional connections. 

It might not feel second nature to develop veterinary networking contacts, but we’re here to help you with some simple tips. 

The first is to ensure that you cultivate an active social media presence. Social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram aren’t exclusive to political posts and funny memes. The proper utilization of social media accounts can help you to connect to other professionals in the veterinary and veterinary technicians fields. You can also use these platforms to highlight your own personal successes in the veterinary world and showcase your skills. And along with those benefits, social media also offers you the opportunities to keep up-to-date on the latest trends in veterinary science and put you in contact with potential future employers. 

Most recruiters cull social media accounts of future employees to get a sense of the candidate. They use their accounts to see if they will be a good match for the position and the placement in regards to the culture of the clinic, so with that in mind it is important to ensure that you maintain a high standard of professionalism while creating your LinkedIn and curating your social media presence. 

And once you have developed your social media presence, it’s essential to remain current with the professional contacts you add. Try to ensure that you make efforts to communicate actively and join professional groups to build communities. 

Your next step is to volunteer for committees within your industry associations. This can look like making the most out of the professional associations that you are already a part of. These associations likely have opportunities for volunteering options and task forces, which will put you in direct contact with other like minded people who are interested in the same causes. Not only will this help you expand your network while utilizing the memberships you are already affiliated with, it will assist in giving voice to specific issues plaguing animal care. 

It can help to explore the opportunities for volunteering through The American Veterinary Medical Association. They appoint a number of committees, task forces, and more with a guided eye toward everything from animal welfare to education to international veterinary affairs and much more. No matter what your particular interest or specialty, you’ll be able to find a volunteering opportunity and committee that both matches your special interest and will assist in growing your network. 

Are you thinking too small when it comes to your veterinary network? Be sure that you’re thinking globally. Don’t limit your network exclusively to the area where you work, or small circles within your location. There is tremendous value in exploring global networking opportunities. There are organizations such as the World Small Animal Veterinary Association, whose work brings experts from every corner of the world. This kind of exposure will help you think more globally about the nature of animal care and will grow your network to include some of the best in the field. 

Don’t bypass any educational opportunities that come along. Expanding your knowledge within the field of animal care is a necessity of being a veterinarian or a vet tech, it’s essential to remain aware of the latest trends and edify yourself on the newest developments in veterinary science. Whether that takes the shape of further education classes, workshops, online webinars, or professional conferences it is an important part of your career to prioritize your education. But these educational opportunities don’t just present the chance to expand your knowledge and bring emerging skills back to your clinic, it also puts you in direct contact with other individuals who are also energized by learning about the newest information in your field. In educational environments, networking presents itself organically and offers you the chance to grow as both a professional and an individual.

Make sure that in your spare time you consider what face-to-face networking opportunities are available in your area. No matter where you are located there should be plentiful professional veterinary meetup groups where you can meet in person with other professionals. In these meetups it will provide chances to hold question and answer sessions, discuss collaborative opportunities for panels for upcoming conferences, and other professional conversations with similarly career-minded individuals. Meetup groups also provide the chance to network in more intimate and casual settings such as coffee shops or restaurants, where you’ll have a better chance to make connections in comparison to larger conference settings. Within these meetups spaces you will be exposed to individuals from all different places in their careers, meaning that question and answer opportunities will be plentiful. 

You might be thinking that this seems like a lot of additional time. But how long should you dedicate to networking daily? You only need to spend five minutes a day cultivating and curating your networking to see the results. Networking isn’t a full time job, and it can be simple and sincere efforts that will make the difference once you start to make it part of your daily routine. Recognize a co-worker’s achievement through your social media channels. Ask a new professional you met a volunteer activity out for lunch. Reach out to a mentor that you met a meetup. These simple actions will start to grow and strengthen your networking circle. And in the future should you need assistance when it comes to expanding your career horizons, you’ll be thankful that you took the time to create a strong networking circle.