Networking is integral to success in any profession, and pharmacy is no exception.
Building professional connections and relationships with other pharmacy students and professionals can open doors to new opportunities, provide valuable support and guidance, and help you to stay current with the latest developments in the field. Here are some tips and strategies for successful networking with other pharmacy professionals while in pharmacy school:
1. Get involved in student organizations
Joining student organizations such as the American Pharmacist Association Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) can provide an excellent opportunity to connect with other pharmacy students and professionals, and to stay involved in the latest developments in the field. Additionally, many of these student organizations have membership perks such as leadership and advocacy opportunities, annual meetings and expositions, discounts on education-related things, and access to newsletters.
2. Attend professional conferences and events
Annual meetings and expositions, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Midyear Clinical Meeting or the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Annual Meeting, are great opportunities to meet other pharmacy professionals, learn about current events in the field, and build your professional network.
3. Volunteer and participate in your community
Taking part in volunteer and community service opportunities, either through your pharmacy school or through your job or internship, is a great way of giving back to your community. Additionally, these opportunities allow you to work with other pharmacy professionals and showcase your willingness to use your skills and knowledge to be active in your community and help others.
4. Find an internship
Acquiring an internship can provide an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a real-world setting and directly work with other pharmacy professionals working in the field. You can learn so much from actually working in real-world settings and meeting all sorts of pharmacy professionals. This is a great way of getting your name out there and making connections with people who could one day be your bosses, colleagues, or preceptors.
5. Take advantage of social media
Professional social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook can offer great ways to connect with others in the world of pharmacy and stay informed about the latest news. LinkedIn can be particularly beneficial, as it was designed for professional networking. Take advantage of these tools to expand your list of connections and, again, get your name out there in the world of pharmacy.
6. Come up with and master your elevator pitch
An elevator pitch is a brief, persuasive introduction about yourself that you give while networking at a place with many people, such as ASHP’s Midyear meeting, when you don’t exactly have a lot of time to talk with each person. It’s called an elevator pitch because it should be short enough to deliver in the time it takes to ride an elevator, typically around 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
To develop a good elevator pitch, you should highlight your most important and unique characteristics and experiences, use simple language (avoid too much jargon), get straight to the point, and rehearse your pitch over and over again until it comes naturally. Don’t be afraid to practice in front of others and take some feedback that could strengthen your pitch further.
Networking takes time and effort, but it can be an extremely valuable investment in your future as a pharmacist. It can be a lot of work to prepare and put yourself out there, but pharmacy is a small world and connections can take you a very long way. Remember to be patient, persistent, and always professional. Developing these relationships can be one of the most important things you do as a pharmacy student.
Best of luck with your pharmacy journey! – TSP