PNP Networking Tips

Outreach Guidelines for Pediatric Nurse Practitioners

Approaching contacts may involve attending meetings of your local NAPNAP Chapter, writing letters or emails, making telephone calls, or visits.  Set a specific goal for each call or visit.  Decide which of the following you can reasonably expect from that individual:

  • A referral to an employer
  • Information about their organization or another employer
  • Open positions within their organization, or they have heard about
  • Advice on your search
  • Names of other individuals to contact

Your first contact may simply be to inform the person that you are seeking a new position. Follow up later, after the contact has had time to consider how he or she might help, using one of the approaches mentioned earlier. Here are some general ideas for approaching your PNP networking contacts:

Writing a letter: Refer to the cover letter guidelines in the next section of this guide and remember to use your referral contact’s name, highlight experience and accomplishments, and establish a follow-up action item.

Sending an email: Remember that the same rules for writing a letter apply. In all written communication sent in your job search process, carefully proofread for spelling and grammar errors. Your writing represents your professionalism.

Calling your contacts: You can use the telephone as an effective vehicle to sell yourself. Don’t let your nerves stop you from making calls that can help your job search campaign. Try these tips if you fear picking up the phone:

  • Email ahead of time with a brief description of what you want to discuss and a request to set up a time to talk.
  • If you call without a time set up, let the person you are calling know that you are considering a job change and you have a couple of questions. Ask if this is a good time to talk or if there is a better time for you to give them a call.
  • Prepare a script to guide you through the conversation—develop opening comments, questions you have, selling statements, and closing remarks.
  • Develop a summary of your accomplishments, experience, and skills in 1 or 2 sentences each. Then have in-depth information to discuss if they inquire.
  • Be enthusiastic and enunciate clearly, pause and let them speak. Listen attentively.
  • Use the referral’s name, when possible, to create interest and a connection with the contact.
  • Ask questions that cannot be answered with a yes or no.  Begin sentences with words such as what, how, or why.
  • Ask for additional contacts: “Can you refer me to others in the field that might be able to assist me?”
  • Request permission to call again.

If you decide to call a contact, be prepared to leave a voicemail message:

  • Prepare a message of 15-30 second duration;
  • Pretend that you are talking to a person rather than a machine;
  • Say your name and telephone number clearly, at a pace that’s easy to understand. Repeat your phone number at the end of your message.

If you are trying to reach someone, try calling in the early morning, during lunchtime, or in the late afternoon. However, consider that this may not be the best time for them to have a conversation.  It should be an introduction, always ask if it is a good time for them, if not try to set up an exact time to return the phone call.  Be mindful of differing time zones.

Consider preparing a 30-second or less summary to introduce yourself in the opening comments. This can be called an “elevator speech.” Be brief and focused. Plan on limiting your summary to no more than 5-6 sentences.

Example: As a pediatric nurse practitioner in a primary care practice, I have excellent skills in diagnosing conditions, establishing care plans and providing anticipatory guidance.  I’ve also been responsible for taking call and teaching at a local college.