As the field of HIM has come into its own in recent years, there have been an increasing number of opportunities for new and experienced professionals to take advantage of networking. And with the field poised to expand rapidly in coming years, this is a great time to begin making contacts and getting your name out there. If you are new to networking, or simply want to make the most of the time you spend doing it, take advantage of these tried and tested strategies.

Join a Professional Organization

Membership in a professional organization instantly connects you with other similar professionals, helps you stay up-to-date on the issues affecting the industry, and gives you information about meetups, conferences, and other networking opportunities. The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) is a great one to start with, but also consider joining The American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC), or The Association for Health Documentation Integrity (AHDI).

Join LinkedIn

LinkedIn is essentially a social network for professionals. It’s a great tool for networking because it makes it easy to find other professionals in the HIM field and quickly identify areas of common interest. Plus, your LinkedIn profile provides a succinct summary of your professional credentials which you can direct people you meet offline to.

Find a Way to Make a Contribution

Successful networking is about more than just shaking hands and handing out business cards. You also need to find a way to make a contribution to the broader conversation surrounding HIM, so that people seek out your perspective. If you have something valuable to add, people will find you instead of the other way around.

Cover the Basics

You would hate to miss a great networking opportunity because of some small mistake. Make sure that you are always professionally dressed for events, have plenty of business cards to give out, conduct yourself politely, and quickly follow up if someone contacts you. A big part networking is taking care of the little things.

Return the Favor

Networking has to be a two-way street, so if someone offers to make an introduction, write you a recommendation, or do you a favor, make sure you always return the courtesy. Effective networking is all about developing long-term relationships and not burning bridges. Even if you don’t have something specific to offer, make sure you always thank people graciously and keep them in mind when opportunities come up later.

If you approach networking in a proactive and ongoing way, you can enhance your career path in exciting ways. Instead of scrambling to find the next opportunity, you rely on your network to help deliver it right to you. Find more resources designed to help HIM professionals by working with the health information management career experts at MedPartners HIM.

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