“It’s all about who you know” is a constant phrase used to describe the current employment climate. It’s no longer enough to apply for positions online in the hopes that you will eventually get a call back from the hiring manager. This is when going after the jobs that you want by leveraging your existing professional networks can play a crucial role in getting your foot in the door. While other candidates are applying for positions through the traditional method of posting their resume, you have gone a step further and developed a relationship with an insider that can help facilitate an employment connection. In reality, employers would rather hire an employee that is referred by someone in their network. This saves the hiring manager a lot of time and is the least expensive method to obtain new employees.

Burning any bridge can come back to haunt you in the future. After all, it’s not just about who YOU know, but it’s just as much about whom your professional contacts know as well. Disgruntled people will talk and this is especially true of healthcare professionals that retain loyalty to a more specialized field or geographic area for the duration of their career. Burning that bridge is not only bad karma, but in the long run, ends up limiting your future employment opportunities and eliminating a potential reference.

People will come in and out of your life and it’s important to begin and end the relationship on good terms, because you never know when you might see (or need) them again. Remaining conscious of the golden rule of networking is the best way to guarantee long-term success and reshape the way that you connect with potential employers.