What do you wish you learned in optometry school that would have better prepared you for your career? That’s a question that Dr. Quy Nguyen spends a lot of time thinking about as the Director of Career Development at the SUNY College of Optometry. As a 2013 graduate, Dr. Nguyen started his career piecing part time jobs together in the competitive New York optometric marketplace. He was fielding a ton of questions from colleagues and optometry students from his alma mater about what it was like as a practicing OD, and was blogging and working closely with fellow classmate (and former roommate during optometry school) Dr. Matt Gellar of New Grad Optometry. When he was offered the role of Director of Career Development at SUNY, that focus on what new grads need to know about the rapidly evolving and changing job marketplace for optometrists was a driving factor.
Fast forward to today, and Dr. Nguyen is now offering the advice he’s compiled from his own career and through mentoring to many other optometrists and students in a series of talks at Vision Expo. His advice?
- Give back early and often in your early career. Whenever your school or a fellow OD needs a mentor or a volunteer for an event they are hosting, offer your voice and time to make a difference.
- Be adaptable. Just because something has always been done one way, doesn’t mean it’s the best way.
- Marketing – learn how to market yourself through social media or LinkedIn. We all know marketing our businesses are essential, but marketing ourselves as optometrists is just an important to create career opportunities!
- Make the most of conferences, even as a student, to network and educate yourself about the rapidly changing world of optometry and eyecare. Dr. Nguyen prioritizes Vision Expo each year as his go to source for both continuing education and networking with colleagues and industry representatives. A great place to get started is by checking out the Young Professionals Lounge powered by NewGradOptometry + CovalentCareers. Stop by for panel discussions with the top thought leaders in optometry and enjoy happy hour on both Friday 3/16 and Saturday 3/17 from 4:30 to 6 PM.
Interested in more advice from Dr. Nguyen? Register for his courses this year at Vision Expo East: The Science of Communicating and Connecting with People, and Combatting Disruptive Forces in Eyecare.
We’d love for you to join us at Vision Expo East – for free! Follow this link to get free registration to Vision Expo East as a gift to our listeners!