11 Essential Networking Tips for Pharmacy Students

Effective networking is a powerful tool that can help advance your personal and professional life.

Effective networking is a powerful tool that can help advance your personal and professional life. It’s all about knowing the right individuals who can help you get to places that you might not otherwise reach.

Here are 11 essential networking tips for pharmacy students and pharmacists:

1. Write an Elevator Pitch

Prepare a short, powerful description of your work history and skills, what you’re looking for, and how you can benefit the company or organization. Your elevator pitch should be no longer than 30 seconds and no more than 90 words. With it, you’ll not only come across as focused and organized, but also be able to network more effectively with potential employers.

2. Create Alternative Business Cards

Most students don’t have business cards, so create your own with your name, contact information, and e-mail address. You can create free business cards with Microsoft Word, or if your school offers the service, you can print them for a small fee.

It’s a good habit to carry business cards with you at all times. Each individual you meet could be a future contact.

3. Get Involved

One of the best ways to meet new contacts is to join organizations and get involved in a leadership role, whether it’s at a local, state, or national level. Getting involved gives you the chance to build relationships and work on your leadership skills. These leadership roles will also give you opportunities to refine your communication and public speaking skills.

4. Wear Nametags on Your Right Side

At networking events, always remember to wear your nametag on the right side of your body, so when you shake hands with others, your nametag is in their line of sight. Your left hand is also free to grab your business cards.

5. Be Genuine

First impressions really matter, so make a good one by being sincere and focusing on each conversation by asking questions and not interrupting. Remember to smile often and maintain good eye contact.

Others can tell when you aren’t interested, so make sure to give them your full attention. If you have to leave the conversation, politely excuse yourself.

6. Address Contacts by Their Proper Titles

For example, an RPh should be referred to as Mr. or Ms., whereas a PharmD should be referred to as Dr. Addressing others by their correct title is a sign of respect.

7. Let Contacts Talk About Themselves

We all love to talk about ourselves, but your listening skills are more valuable. Try not to interrupt others when they’re talking because you might come across as disinterested or rude. Allowing others to feel comfortable speaking with you will help build relationships.

8. Don’t Ask for Jobs

When you meet someone for the first time at a networking event, don’t just ask for a job because it can come off as rude and awkward. You need to build relationships first, which you can do by immediately following up after your first introduction via e-mail. When the time is right, go ahead and ask for career help.

9. Take Notes on Business Cards

Whenever you meet new contacts at networking events, you should always jot down notes on their business cards. Write information such as the date, location of event, name of event, and business information.

Keeping notes will help you sort out each individual you met. When you’re ready to follow up, you’ll remember important details about your initial connection.

10. Follow Up

Add a personalized touch to your networking by purchasing professional thank you cards and envelopes with your name and address. Whenever you meet new contacts, send them a handwritten note mentioning how you enjoyed meeting them and thanking them for their time. A personalized and thoughtful e-mail also works and might be more applicable in some situations.

11. Keep in Touch

After you meet contacts, keep in touch with them. It’s a challenge to stay in contact with everyone, so be selective and choose those who you connect with and enjoy having in your network.

Other ways to keep in touch are sending e-mails with relevant information, mailing personal notes or articles, and giving leads or referrals. Over time, you’ll build mutually beneficial relationships with your network.