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Job Seekers' Guide to HIMSS10 Part Two: What's Your Plan, Stan?

February 4, 2010
by Gwen Darling
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Last week, I discussed the fact that the upcoming HIMSS10 conference was a Healthcare IT job seeker’s very best bet for connecting with the most hiring-decision-maker-Healthcare-IT types-in-one-place there is. Bar none. And remember, we’re all job seekers – some are just more obvious than others. Hopefully my “HIMSS10 on a budget” tips were enough to push you over the edge and decide to commit to this 5-Day networking extravaganza.

Okay. So let’s assume you’re all in – booked and ready to go. This week, it’s time to put together a plan to maximize every waking minute in order to get the highest possible return on this job-seeking investment. And let’s face it – even with my fabulous budget tips, even if you swear off the mini-bar and the racy hotel pay-per-view menu, and even if you take the free shuttle back to the airport – attending a HIMSS conference is an investment. But I don’t have to tell you that – you booked your hotel last week!

So here are three things you need to be doing this week:

1. Read “Strategies for Success at HIMSS10” provided by, you guessed it – HIMSS, offering valuable tips for the both newbie and veteran attendees. Many of the tips offered in this collection are the same "secrets" to success that I would have suggested, so take a look here first, and then...

2. Figure out a foolproof way to keep track of your schedule. This tip sounds obvious, maybe, especially when you consider this blog targets hospital CIOs who are most likely way ahead of the game when it comes to keeping track of schedules and details and workflow. And you probably have your calendar neatly organized in your Blackberry or your iPhone or iPad, you early adopter, you. But maybe not. Maybe you’re like the guy I saw at HIMSS08 with the sticky notes going up his sleeve and notes written on his hand, muttering, “Sand*t! Where am I supposed to be?” If that’s you, then figure out a better way to consolidate your meetings into a master schedule. HIMSS has a nifty online calendar that allows you to drag and drop the official HIMSS activities into your schedule, and then offers the option to export your events to your Outlook Calendar. Very cool, and very helpful.

3. Schedule definite meeting times. Lots of them. Hopefully by now, you’ve got your eye on a list of companies that you are interested in exploring. Perhaps they’ve just posted your dream opportunity, or you’ve heard they are getting ready to expand in a direction you’d like to head, too. Or maybe what you’ve heard/researched about their company culture speaks to you, and your desire is simply to introduce yourself and make yourself known (aka networking!).

At conferences such as these, job seekers sometimes have a tendency to be worried about asking for a definitive slot of time, thinking that it’s selfish to make such a request, and instead take the “Hope to run into you at HIMSS” route. Have you ever been to HIMSS? You know the chance of running into someone specific (who has time that exact moment to speak with you) without a plan to do so? Zero.

Be flexible where and when you can meet, and let your potential employer set the terms. Coffee, breakfast, lunch, cocktails? All will work! That being said, not all people will be able/willing to schedule time with a stranger, but instead may give you a window of opportunity to come meet with them during the day. For example, “I’ll be at booth #11,854 on Wednesday from 10-2 – come by then.” That works, too. And if they suggest you meet up at one of the many after hours social events? Put your party shoes on, and mark it on your calendar! It all works! You goal is to make as many meaningful connections during your HIMSS10 investment as you possibly can. So get working on your schedule, job seeker!

Next week we’ll take a look at the fine art of networking, and talk about ways to be memorable (in a good way!)

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Gwen Darling

CEO, HealthcareITCentral.com

Gwen Darling

@HealthcareITJob

www.HealthcareITCentral.com

Gwen Darling serves as an online HIT matchmaker, bringing together qualified Healthcare IT...