Empowering students and alumni to be active agents in their own ‘becoming’

IHP’s Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD) partners with all students and alumni to help them integrate their skills, training, and education into lives of meaning, purpose, and service. We seek to empower you to identify, enhance and accomplish your professional development, job search and educational goals as you transition from student to healthcare professional. The CCPD is driven by the following premise:

A job – is what we do to EARN a living.
A career – is what we do to MAKE a living. 
A vocation – is what we do to CREATE a better life for others.

Whether your ultimate goal is a job, career, or vocation, the CCPD will support on your journey. We believe that having a “good job” and “doing what you love” are not mutually exclusive.

In conjunction with all academic programs, we prepare you for your career journey before and after graduation by providing personalized coaching, programing and resources for:

  • Resume & Cover Letter Writing
  • Writing Skills
  • Interview Preparation / Mock Interview Sessions
  • Networking
  • International Student Advising
  • Global Travel Experiences
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Resiliency
  • Leadership Development
  • Job Search Strategy
  • Online Brand Optimization

Successful Networking: Why is it so effective and how do I do it?

All job vacancies eventually get published for the public to see. However, did you know that only about 20% of these jobs are “truly available?” It is an employer’s responsibility to publish all vacancies, but most of the time, this is their last resort for filling a position. Most competitive positions are “filled,” at least informally, long before we ever see the job on indeed.com. The 80% of these pre-published “true vacancies” is what we call “the hidden job market." And it is an untapped goldmine.

The Odds

When a job description is approved and created, initially only 20% make it to the visible or “published market”...i.e. job boards and company websites. If 100% of job seekers are competing for only 20% of the “real” jobs, what do you think are our chances for getting a call-back?   It’s no wonder students often report that they do not hear back from employers after submitting job applications. The odds are even worse when we take into account that approximately 5% of the jobs are handles by external recruiter ads, 5% are “ghost ads” (jobs already “filled” by internal candidates), and 10% ads are managed by a sophisticated but often buggy software easily configured to “screen out” candidates.

We need to better our odds.


The 80-20 Job Search Plan


“It’s NOT who you know.  It IS who knows you.”

Target People who work(ed) for your Target Employers: 

  • Create two lists: 
  1. Employers for whom you would like to work.
  2. Your “job search team” which always begins with your “inner circle,” and extends to references, mentors, past supervisors, memorable preceptors, favorite professors, alumni from alma maters...etc.
  • Present your list of desired employers to your job search team and ask for introductions to their CLOSE connections who work at or are affiliated with your target employers. The introduction will be “warm” because you started the chain reaction with someone close to you.... utilizing the power of “friend-of-a-friend” or relationship depth. 
  • Email, call, or meet with the connection(s)...and BE MEMORABLE:
    • Ask intelligent and probing questions about his/her career path, the company culture, new grad experiences.
    • Do NOT ask for a job
    • Ask for advice on how you could stand out as a new grad in this competitive market.
    • Ask if you can keep in contact...keeping him/her in the loop about your progress.
    • Send a hand written thank you.....and keep your word about following up every 2-3 weeks with a detailed summary of your job search efforts since your last meeting or communication.
  • Repeat to yourself every day:   “I already know the person who knows the person who is going to offer me an interview.”  

Utilize LinkedIn:

  • Did you know that with 3 clicks on LinkedIn, you can find all alumni from your schools who work at {XYZ Company}?  

Organic Method:

  • Put yourself in serendipity’s path....do more of the things you love to do on a daily basis, do it with new people, allow the common interest to be the ice breaker, and steer the discussion to career related goals so you have an opportunity to share your aspirations, opening the door to advice and help. 

“Those who say that some people are just lucky because they are in the right place at the right time don’t realize that the ‘lucky ones’ show up at a lot of places a lot of the times.”

The “Cold” Call:

  • Emailing, visiting, writing, or calling managers or team members at your target companies. The more you “humanize” or personalize your job search approach and demonstrate your value, the more “hidden” opportunities will be revealed.
  • Liquid Compass - a job board where 90% of the jobs are open to NEW GRADS (pca, rn, np, pa). 
  • Indeed - use “advanced search” filter to narrow results, particularly: “with these words in the title,” filter.  Example search string: “new nurse” or “clinical nurse I” or “entry level nurse” or “new RN” or “entry RN”. Then sort by date first. You can also add phrases like “new grad” to the “exact words” filter. When the search is tuned, submit your email to “activate” daily job alert. 
  • Professional Associations Job Boards and Groups – recruiters in HR know that these groups are prime real estate for filling positions.

Networking is the #1 most effective form of job seeking. Usually, companies will look to people within the organization (an “insider”) or to individuals who come recommended to them from people within the organization which, in turn, helps to decrease recruiting costs.

Networking is the process of establishing, building, and maintaining relationships (contacts) as a source of gathering information. Networking is not merely handing out resumes or business cards, asking for jobs or leads, being pushy or overbearing. In contrast, to be effective at networking you must:

  • Show a genuine interest in the other individual.
  • Recognize the importance of the two-way nature of networking and thus mutually sharing information and advice with the other individuals to assist them in achieving their goals.
  • Build a strong rapport by being friendly, interested and enthusiastic.

We’ve all heard the statement often, “It’s about Who you know,” But networking is useless unless the people we reach out to will truly help us. Think about it… how many contacts have you reached out to who were truly reliable, followed-through on things, went beyond the call of duty to assist you? It does happen, but it’s uncommon.

So how do we get them to do this? Building useful connections is all about “knowing” the right people, and them “knowing” you. “Knowing” in the best sense of word. Let’s rephrase the sentence: “It’s not just about who you know - it’s about who you really know, who really knows you.” And it starts with a very specific “who.”

Our “Who,” begins with your inner circle: soul mates, friends, family – those who know us to our core and have been there in all stages of our lives. The deepest kind of “knowing” there can be. They will be your “bridges,” your conduits to achieving goals.

Your initial networking list can come from a variety of sources:

  • Personal Contacts: family, friends, neighbors, classmates, acquaintances, organizations, church groups
  • Work Contacts: co-workers, supervisors, colleagues
  • Educational Contacts: teachers & professors, academic advisors, athletic coaches, alumni networks
  • Professional Group Contacts: Chamber of Commerce, professional trade associations, career centers
  • Professional Contacts: doctor, dentist, optometrist, lawyer, accountant, banker, insurance agent, realtor

Brainstorm as many potential contacts as possible. It is also important not to overlook or underestimate the magnitude of "chance encounters," or “serendipity moments” such as waiting in line at the supermarket, sitting next to someone on the bus, or someone at a party.

The Networking Approach in Summary


Your “Who” is your job search team or board of directors. Your “Where” is your list of employers for whom you’d love to work.

three bubbles say who and where, referrals and other methods and discusses ways to gather contacts

What companies need someone like you?

Using the “friend-of-a-friend” strategy, ask for warm introductions.

Arrange to meet up for coffee, a quick phone call, a zoom. The goal of any networking meeting with a person from your target list is very simple: you want them to get to know you and vice-versa – in an informal way. This is not an interview. It’s a conversation with a potential networking partner. You should ask to hear more about their background. You want to learn more about their industry, their job, their company. You should wait until the person asks about you, and then tell them your story. You also want to make clear that while you are, indeed “in transition” … you don’t expect that person to have a job for you. Rather, you hope that person can give you some expert advice – perhaps point you in the right direction, or suggest other people they might recommend you talk with.

It is so important to be liked and to be remembered. Unless we are on-top-of-mind, people will often forget that we are in need of help. Pull out your Steven Covey “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”

The final step in the Networking Approach…and the one that many people fall short on, is following-up. Staying in touch with the key people you’ve talked with and/or met with is critical as is keeping careful records on everyone you talk or meet with.

The first thing you should do is write a thank-you email immediately after a first networking conversation or meeting. (Some people recommend sending an old-fashioned hand-written thank-you note to stand out from the crowd. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with doing that, I say send an email first because it is so immediate – and it also puts your contact information in their email inbox where they can easily find you later.)

Then, you need to remain in touch on a regular basis. You’ll need to set yourself reminders (perhaps on your calendar) to not forget to follow-up regularly with each and every networking contact you connect with. There’s nothing more disappointing than having a great networking meeting that lacks any follow-up. The onus is all on you here – don’t drop the ball. If you want your connections to remember and help you, you must make the effort to stay in touch!

Take a part-time job, volunteer, a temp job, per diem, odd shifts, maybe an internship or job shadowing opportunity…all these are ways to get your foot in the door and get at those “hidden” jobs.

Center for Career Development

Our CCPD team assists students in identifying and executing strategic job search plans which increase the likelihood that their passions, skills and the job market will intersect.

Jessica Upton

Programming and Advising Manager Office of Student Affairs and Services Center for Career and Professional Development

Programming and Advising Manager Office of Student Affairs and Services Center for Career and Professional Development

Nada Jovanovic in grey sweater

Writing Center Director Office of Student Affairs & Services

Writing Center Director Office of Student Affairs & Services