How to Network Effectively on the Road to a New Career

Today's episode describes how to network during Phase 2 of The 12 Month Roadmap to a New Career.

A few years ago, I devised a 12-month plan of action that would lead to your first CMO job. The first month of this roadmap was introduced in Episode 269.

In today's episode, we focus on an essential task that begins in the Second Phase of the Roadmap.

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How to Network

What is “networking?”

It is the process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts. It involves leveraging the relationships you already have to expand the number of such relationships.

When considering a career transition, networking is crucial, especially if you're considering a change to an entirely new industry. Networking can be used to find a mentor, discover new jobs openings, and obtain an introduction to a hiring manager or human resources department director.

The usual ways to network are through:

Networking Etiquette

Networking is a two-way street. Always try to be helpful to members of your network by finding useful connections for them, and facilitating their goals.

Start slowly, and nurture your connections over time.

Never place unreasonable demands on your network members.

Dr. John Jurica's Advice

…you need to approach people respectfully and considerately and not make it feel like you're going to be a burden…  Don't make it feel like a mentor has to be accountable for your career… a good rule of thumb is to remember to ask for advice, not for a job… 


It is best to engage in networking on a daily or weekly basis. Spend 30 to 60 minutes concentrating on growing your network, possibly 30 minutes each on LinkedIn and Doximity. Discover additional contacts, establish connections with them, and then start communicating with them through social media or email, and eventually consider a live call if it makes sense. But keep it short, and find a way to reciprocate with your “connections.”

NOTE: Look below for a transcript of today's episode. 

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Transcription PNC Podcast Episode 271

How to Network Effectively on the Road to a New Career

John: All right. Well, let's get into this conversation about networking. Let me tell you a little story. I always thought that networking was kind of a dirty word. I'm an introvert, I'm not good at small talk. And I remember going to various conferences and meetings and they would say, "Okay, at four o'clock, at the end of the formal presentations, we would have networking time." And there would be a bunch of tables and you could have snacks, maybe something to drink, and you're supposed to introduce yourself and just chat with others who are going to the meeting. And I typically would go for a few minutes, maybe have a snack. That could be my short dinner, and then I'd leave. I'm not good at networking in that fashion. I'm not good at commiserating with people and making small talk, although I should have been networking for whatever I was there for the meeting so I could get more out of the meeting.

But that's just me. But I think it's very common. Physicians often say "We don't need to network." But obviously if you're doing something different from your typical clinical career, you might need to network to find a job or to connect with people to start a business, something like that, which I'll go into in a minute.

Let's step back. Let's look at networking and what it really is. To jump ahead a little bit, I would say now I'm very good at networking but the way I network is by podcasting. Since I started my podcast, and even while I was doing the blog, somewhat, that generates interest because people look at it and I post things on Facebook and I post things on LinkedIn and people respond to me. They start to listen. And then on top of that, I bring on guests to my podcast. Now I've developed a network of about 200 former guests, and that's led to participating with them at conferences. And so, actually that is how I got into really the most effective form of networking for me, which is the podcast.

Now, we're not talking about that primarily today, but I just want to let you know that I've kind of done a turnaround. And it turns out networking is very important when you're thinking about career transition, particularly if you're looking at career transition to a completely different field.

Now, as we talk about, of course, we're looking at using our healthcare background, our medical background, but we're going to move from, let's say, patient care to a non-patient care nonclinical activity. Again, let's go back to the basics and then we'll walk through this process and I'll touch on why it's important and really some tips on how to do it at this phase if you're working through this 12-month roadmap.

So, what is networking? It's a process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts. That's kind of the base of what it is. And there usually has to be a goal that is accompanying that. But the main crux of networking is it involves growing the network as you're accessing the network. In other words, you use your current smaller network to develop a larger network. And so, it's often depicted as nodes with multiple connections. So, you might have three connections, but each of those three develop three more for you and it goes out and it's sort of exponential. If you do it properly, you can create a very large network.

I would say the most that people that focus heavily on this are recruiters and people who are in business trying to sell things, because the bigger the network, the more potential sales they can make to clients or customers. Networking really for us is usually used for several purposes. Just starting and growing a business, a club, a social group or whatever, you're trying to get more people, but people network sometimes as they're trying to get into a school. And because it helps to have connections at that school, medical school, college, whatever it might be.

So, there's a lot of networking that goes into that, and it's used to find an expert to help learn a new skill. A big piece of networking and how you network and what you do while you're networking is not to just jump to the sales, let's say if you're a salesman or not to just jump to asking for a job if you're interested in a career, but to learn about the whole aspect of the career, the job, the school you might be applying to.

There's a step in between that we're going to talk about in a minute. But to a large extent, networking is great to learn a new skill because you can connect with different people that have that skill and they all have different perspectives and you can learn from that. And then that will lead you into the next step in your networking, which is to actually use it to find a job in our case.

And like I said, for me, podcasting, and networking was great for finding guests. I network on LinkedIn. I find people that are physicians who are doing different jobs. I recruit them, they come on the podcast. I also do that by asking others in my existing network to give me referrals of others who might be a good guest. And sometimes people just call me or email me and just give me ideas without me even soliciting them. The power of a good network is, it's very active and it's very productive.

And so, in the old days, of course, how do we network? How did we network? In the old days it was, "Okay, you're going to network face-to-face." As I said, you'll go to a meeting and then afterward there'll be networking time. There are certain meetings where half the time for the meeting is networking time because it might be a professional organization that is putting on a meeting. Something like the AAPL, the American Association for Physician Leadership, the MSL Society, the American Medical Writers Association. They have meetings and a lot of times big parts of their meetings are spent in networking or just getting together with other people, discussing what they're doing with respect to that job or that profession. And they learn from one another in an informal way rather than sitting in a 30, 60, or 90-minute lecture. That's face-to-face.

You can do the same thing online. There are professional organizations that I just mentioned where you can actually network online through the organization. If you go to their websites and many other professional organizations, you're able to connect with them through messaging within the website for that particular organization. This brings me to the third, which is online social media. LinkedIn is probably the best. the best example. LinkedIn is an online profile, but it includes networking, it includes education, it includes a lot of other things besides just putting your profile up for people to look at.

And the other one that most of us should know about, that probably we should use more than I have in the past. And that's Doximity. You can go into Doximity. You can connect with a lot of people that already are in your life or were in your life. People you went to college with, people who you went to medical school with, people that you were in residency with, and then also the alumni from those organizations. So, that expands it very quickly.

And you can network obviously through Doximity directly because you can message people in Doximity and you can definitely do that on LinkedIn. And there are lots of strategies for improving and enlarging your network on LinkedIn by messaging people, you can pay extra to be able to message more people, and so forth. We're going to talk a little bit about that. But that's used oftentimes in a business to find leads. But we're going to be using it again to do two things basically, which again, I'll get into a little detail, but mostly it's to learn and then to contact people that can help you.

Those are the big ones. And then there might be some other ways that you can think of, but those are the ones that come to mind when we think about networking today. A lot more is remote. You can do it through blogs, you can do it through social media, and a lot of professional organizations, again, in an online fashion. And then you can call people. You can get on the phone and do networking.

Let me give you some examples of where networking really helps, some of the physicians I've talked to. We'll just call this one a cardiologist Dr. F. She had worked 25 years in her own practice and was an employed cardiologist. And she just reached the point where she wanted to do something different. And so basically, she started by contacting two medical school colleagues that she knew of. Each of them was working already as a medical director or an associate medical director in a life insurance company, which you don't find those people that come of, for some reason they were doing this.

And again, I don't know if she used Doximity or LinkedIn, but she knew that they were doing this. And then it occurred to her to contact them. And she started by asking them, not "Is there a job you can tell me about?" but she asked them about the job. She asked them to describe the job, did they like the job? What did they like, and what did they not like? She found that they were very happy in their jobs.

At that point, she moved to the next step to learn more about what a medical director for a life insurance company does. And then she started looking for jobs. She went online, she looked at different insurance companies based on what she was told by her colleagues. And really it only took her about six months and she landed her first job. Now that was a very accelerated process. Most of us will not find that job. Most of us, number one, will try to sift through different careers before we end up on one when we choose one. We might say it's something in pharma, maybe something in the hospital, maybe we want to do UM. Figure out which of those best suits our personality.

But she just kind of talked to her colleagues. They focused her right away on that particular job. She decided to specifically pursue that based on what they had told her. Then she went back and did the other things on LinkedIn and through other contacts found some companies that had openings, applied to those, and landed her first job in a little over six months, which is remarkable.

Now, another one of the colleagues that I've talked to on my podcast, Dr. H, she did the same thing. She decided she was going to leave medicine and she had no idea what to do, but she did start to zone in on pharma jobs. Now, in pharma jobs, most pharma companies have at least six to nine major divisions of which three or four of those employ physicians. Everything from basic clinical and research and applied research and so forth to sales. Most physicians don't go onto the sales side, but they go oftentimes into the MSL side.

She started looking, she thought she would do something in pharma. She didn't feel she was qualified for anything on the research side because of her background. And she started looking at profiles on LinkedIn of people that were doing pharma. And that gave her the ability to see what the different jobs were because they were describing the jobs that they did and then she could look those up. And then she would contact the people on LinkedIn and she would have short conversations, again, mostly about learning. "What does that entail? What do you do? What are the requirements?"

And by the way, I'm going to get into how you do this interaction in a minute. But she did that and she decided that the medical science liaison was the one she wanted to pursue. So, she started posting her resume. Well, she did several things. First of all, learned she needed to convert her CV to a resume, and she did that. And then she started sending her resumes into online sites that hired MSLs and there were hundreds and hundreds of jobs. And she told me there were some days when she was sending her resume to 200 different sites. And for months would have no return on that at all.

It wasn't really until she was able to network sufficiently to find somebody in one of the companies that she was applying to. That person, that recruiter, that HR person was able to then look for the resume when it was sent in. I think she probably sent it also directly to that person because there's a lot of screening that goes on through that online process. But anyway, after doing that, she got one job after applying to thousands of positions. And that was all it took because then that later allowed her to move to other jobs and other jobs. In fact, I think she even eventually moved out of the MSL role completely.

But those are two examples, and they were both based on networking. In one case it started with networking with people that you really were close to. And in the other case it was randomly reaching out, facilitating, and creating relationships with people and then using those to focus in on a particular job and to connect with someone that could then help facilitate that process.

When you're thinking about networking like this, and you probably can tell from what I've said so far, you need to focus on at some point what it is you're going to use it for. Again, I always say there are different phases. Early in your networking, you should tell yourself, "Look, I'm mostly networking so I can find people that might be doing the type of job I would want to do. I'm trying to confirm that. And then I'm trying to learn from them what the job entails now."

And sometimes, they can point you in directions to things like professional organizations and societies that often, as I said, have some formal networking built in the organization. But you wouldn't know to go to that organization until you were told by someone in your network that that's what you should do. And then you should do that for a while. You should use those people as mentors, but later then you need to start using them as connectors either to a recruiter or a company or hiring manager, or even sometimes they connect you directly to the head of the department or the division that's hiring. Those are all the people in an organization that ultimately you want to get to. So, you can send them your resume and cover letter rather than sending it blindly to some online portal.

Let's talk a minute about creating this network. And it may not be so much creating the network as defining your network. So, your network already exists. Whether you use a network or not, it already exists. Your network is people that you know, people that you're acquainted with, and people that you've interacted in the past with, and that includes the following.

And actually, what I want you to do as part of the process of doing this networking is I want you to write down and define your current network. And so, you're going to make a list, and I want you to not filter it at all because it's easy to drop people off later that may perhaps for some reason aren't really useful for your networking. But when you're creating the initial list, you should put all these people down. You can type them out, you can write them out by hand, you can put on stickies, you can do whatever you like.

But let's just try to think through this process during the rest of this episode, and also sit down and do it later. So, make a list, of all your family, and all your friends. You might even put down is there some way that they could be helpful to my career search? Because certain family and friends will be, and certain ones won't. You might have family and friends who are physicians. Okay, that's an automatic in. Do they have friends? Do they have colleagues? Do they have knowledge? You've maybe never spoken to them about that. So, you're going to go to your cousin who's a physician in another town and say, "Hey, are you still practicing? Do you have friends who are doing nonclinical? Do you know anything about that? What can you tell me?"

So, you got family, friends, college classmates, and alumni. You have a connection to the alumni even though you may not have worked directly with them. But let's face it, if you were in university, you were probably pre-med if you're a physician or pre-nursing if you're a nurse. And so most people that you went to school with were in the same program. Now they're doing that job as well. You may not have been with them in medical school, you may not have been with them in residency, but now they still may be practicing and maybe they've moved on to a nonclinical position.

And you do have that connection with the alumni if you've ever called somebody or met somebody and said "You and I went to the same medical school." But anyway, you had things in common with that person. Maybe you're both living in the same area because you went to the same school. Maybe you both went to a similar residency after medical school. But again, those are connections. The alumni is not as strong a connection as a classmate, but it is a connection. So, write all those things down.

Now, as we get into medical school classmates and alumni, you can expand on those lists. Instead of just going by memory or maybe you've got a roster from your class. Maybe you were in a huge medical school class and you've got a roster from that class from 10 or 15 years ago. Maybe you have a roster of all the alumni from that medical school. Some schools publish that. If you don't, you can go to other places. You can go to Doximity at and LinkedIn,, and you can start looking and you can start searching.

So, you can search, for example, in LinkedIn by college and medical school. You can search in Doximity the same way. And then you can start to build that and refresh your memory. Maybe you'll see that in Doximity this physician is there and you go, "Oh yeah, I remember that person." But you never would've remembered that person. And actually, Doximity is built to connect you with your former classmates and alumni because it actually prompts you to add those people. LinkedIn doesn't do that. You have to search for them, but LinkedIn has other things that help you to network.

And then you've got your residency and fellowship, your classmates if you want to call them that, co-residents, and the alumni from those. And then you can move up to coworkers in your current and previous jobs, whether you're employed in a practice. What about all the physicians that run the medical staff when you were on that 500-bed hospital's medical staff? And you're not going to know all those people, but this is a source and you can start to look them up, see what they're doing.

And then, in this whole mix is a very, very, very tiny group of networking colleagues who are going to be the references for your job search. Maybe I should put it right at the very beginning. But keep them in mind because you're going to use them. You're going to ask them to be a reference. That's first of all. They're close to you, they know you, and they support you already. But you want to treat them like you will the rest of the members of this network that you're creating. And you want to ask them or let them know what you're doing, see if they have colleagues that are doing something that you might want to do because that's going to be really the strongest connection you'll have. If you're using a family member, a close friend, or a reference who's a professional reference for the next job you might be applying for, they're going to be very supportive and it's going to help you a lot.

One thing you should do in this process is cross reference the different sources if you can. So, what I mean by that is, like what I've mentioned, if there's someone in your network that you know through somebody else already and they're on your list, you should look them up on LinkedIn because you want to make sure you understand where they are now. Now not everyone will be on LinkedIn, but between Doximity and LinkedIn, you should be able to tell what they're doing.

And so, this is part of the research you're going to do at the beginning of the process. Let's say that you had a roster of 30 people that you went to medical school with. Well, you might just go to LinkedIn and Doximity and look them up and see what they're doing now. Now those sites aren't always kept up to date, but they're usually pretty accurate. I find LinkedIn to be a little more current than Doximity but Doximity has more people that are clinical than let's say LinkedIn would have.

All right, enough about that. You want to create this thing and you want to write it down. There are probably software programs you can use if you were in sales or something, but it's really not necessary because you're only going to be using this for the most part temporarily while you're in this, what I call a 12-month roadmap to a new career. So, we're getting started on this part early in this roadmap.

As you begin to contact these individuals, well, let's talk about how you're going to contact them. You can email them. You can message them through a professional organization as I've mentioned. You can message or contact them through social media. Of course, LinkedIn is set up to do that. Doximity is set up to do that. But maybe you're connected through Twitter or some other thing. Maybe you're both posting on clinical topics or you're both posting about how much burnout you have or what have you. You can reach out that way.

But then of course is a lot of networking that goes on in person. So, you meet people, specifically, let's say I have a medical society that I participate with where I am. And so, even though I don't work with these people anymore, because I don't work in this county, I'm always running into these other physicians and I can keep up with them and say, "Hey, what's going on? Are you still practicing?" And someone will say, "Well I started some sidelines, some side businesses, side hustles, whatever you want to call them. I'm doing something different. I'm looking about changing to this or that." That's in person at a meeting, which the meeting would be for another purpose, but there you go. You're going to meet them face to face. And then just getting on a phone call. Say, "Can we have a quick call?" With my podcast and what I've been doing and courses and so forth, I usually get on a Zoom call. I like to be able to see the person as though I am talking to them face to face. But obviously, it's remote.

Some bits of advice about how to be when you're networking. Even though we all pretty much know what a network is, we know what it's for, it's unseemly and it's off-putting if you come on aggressively. Get on the phone or send somebody an email saying "I just decided I'm going to look for a nonclinical job. I'm really reaching out to everybody I know and I'd like it if you could spend 30 minutes on a call with me to tell me what you're doing." No, you have to be, it's like when I've talked about using a mentor. You cannot put so much pressure on the mentor and someone in your network in a way is a mentor or could be a mentor.

And so there shouldn't be a lot of pressure. In fact, it should be very light at the beginning. You should be authentic, you should be yourself, and you should be considerate. And you want to spend however you're connecting with that person, whether it's via email, asynchronously or synchronously on a call of some sort, or through a messaging function. Just connect. That's it. Just connect. Connect and remind them who you are and ask them some questions about themselves. The people who are the most popular at parties or even in any kind of get-together are those who ask the most questions and listen to the answers.

So, you don't go at somebody and ask them to tell you what you should do and how you should learn this new skill and who should you apply to? Can you give me the name of somebody? That should all be later. In the beginning, you want to be slow, you want to be considerate. And if you can at all, figure out some way you can help them first.

Now it may sound hokey, but if you can give a compliment, that always helps. That also tells you that you know them. Let's say that you heard them speak or that someone referred you to them that told you, "Hey, this is a nice person. They're very knowledgeable." Bring that up and then ask them some questions. "How have you been? What are you doing? I'm really curious to find out whether you're still practicing or not." And really you have to take this slow. It's a nurturing process.

Now, you don't want to do this over a period of 10 different meetings, but you need to approach people respectfully and considerately and not make it feel like you're suddenly going to be a burden. And again, mention this with mentors. Don't make it feel like a mentor has to be accountable for your career. It's not. The point of a mentor is to answer questions and keep you from making mistakes. Same thing with networking to some extent.

And I think a good thing, a good rule of thumb is to really remember to ask for advice and try not to ask for the job or a job. "Do you know anyone who can hire me? Or are you hiring right now for this position? I heard that you work for this and you're a medical director or you're a CMO or a VP." No, ask first for advice. People like giving advice. "Hey, is there something I can do to maybe learn more about this?" And they'll tell you about a book. They'll tell you about an organization. They'll tell you about a blog or something like that. It should be brief to the point and not be onerous to that person. And take your time, develop and nurture those relationships.

So, what not to do? Sometimes it's easier to say what not to do. Do not monopolize your colleagues' time and don't focus only on what you need or want. That should come later and gradually. That's basically what I wanted to say about networking. You'll find as I have that there are ways to network that are very gentle for yourself as well as the other person that is not overwhelming for either of you.

Networking works best if you can do a little bit each day or each week. Spend 30 minutes to an hour focusing on that. Maybe focus 30 minutes on LinkedIn, and 30 minutes on Doximity. Find more people, connect with them, and then start spending time sending them a message or an email or eventually after interacting a couple of times having a live call of some sort with them. I think the process of starting with education and then moving to referrals is a good one. And really once you get this thing rolling, it kind of continues on its own. For example, when I started my LinkedIn profile and tried to build a network, I had to go out and actively try and figure out who I wanted to reach out to.

Now I have people every day asking me to connect 2, 3, 4 a day. I don't have a huge LinkedIn following, but I've got a couple thousand. And just the other day I was looking for a new podcast guest. And so, I just went through the recent people that connected with me, I looked at what their backgrounds were, picked out some that were physicians that were doing nonclinical work. I reached out to them and two of them agreed to come on to my podcast.

Well, the parallel is, okay, you're going to reach out, you're going to interact with people, you're going to connect with them. Maybe you'll have a phone call. You'll find out that they're doing a nonclinical job that you would like to do. You're going to learn more about that from them in little tiny snippets. And then eventually you're going to ask them to keep their eyes open, if any jobs open up where they're working if it's something geographically that fits with you.

I think that's all I want to say today about networking. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at or go to the website at and look around. You can join my email list. And then when you're on my list and you get my emails, if you respond, it actually comes to that same email address. It comes directly to me. It doesn't get filtered out. So, you can do that.

The show notes for today's episode can be found at


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