HIMSS can be an overwhelming experience for even the most seasoned healthcare IT veteran.  So what should you do if you’re new(ish) to the industry or you’re a veteran in search of a new job?

Press the flesh    Shake hands and smile.  Networking begins with approachability, so look friendly.  Don’t be a wallflower! Get out there and mingle.  If you’re a bit of an introvert, attend events to help break the ice.  Our favorites are the local HIMSS chapter events, the Women in Health IT reception and of course, HIStalkapalooza.  HIStalkapalooza is a great networking event and one hell of a party.

Be memorable   Be memorable, but not in a bad way.  The last thing you want is for your potential new employer to remember you as the guy with the lampshade on his head.

Do your research    Have your eye on that one perfect employer?  The dream company you’ve always wanted to work for?  Research their current initiatives, headlines and leadership team.  Connect with employees on social media, follow their updates and see if you can meet with them at HIMSS.   Is your dream company sponsoring an event?  Try to attend.  This is a great opportunity because as a sponsor your dream company will have representatives in attendance who are there specifically to network.

Be in the right place  Register and attend education sessions where you think your potential boss might be.  In addition to increasing your own knowledge base, coffee breaks and entering and leaving the sessions are great opportunities to meet someone new.

Look the part    Look put together and be prepared.  If you’re there for networking, make sure you have a business card with your current phone number and email address.  There are several online outlets where you can get custom cards printed very reasonably.  If you tweet or blog about the healthcare IT industry, don’t forget to include that information on your card as well.

Think outside the box    Don’t forget about recruiting firms when looking for your next opportunity!  We often have availabilities with companies that aren’t listed publically.  Developing a long term relationship with a recruiting firm can be one of your most valuable career assets.  Once you spend time with a recruiter and tell them what you’re looking for, they’ll consider you for jobs not just now, but in the future.

Follow up   Give everyone a week to settle back into the daily grind and then follow up.  Thank them for their time, reiterate any important points and ask about future employment.  Who is your best contact within the company to reach out to so you can stay abreast of hiring needs?  Then, follow that company in the news.  Reach back out to your contact every so often with insight or an observation about something topical and recent.

Everyone is overwhelmed at HIMSS, so jump in right away!  Introduce yourself to one person as soon as you arrive and conquer any anxiety you may have.  The first time is always the hardest, so knock it out early and relax the rest of the time.


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