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By focusing on how to network in today’s economy and academic environment, you can put yourself ahead of the competition and get the industry position of your choice. The key is being strategic in your job search, following up properly, and surrounding yourself with the right people. Developing your interpersonal skills will be vital to your success and will become much more important than your technical skills. Follow these 8 critical networking tips for advancing your career as a PhD.

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Learning to follow up properly is the most important thing PhDs can do to get an industry job faster. Instead of showing up to networking events without a plan, start creating specific goals for each event and following up with the people you meet afterwards. Instead of leaving an interview and waiting weeks to hear back, start sending thank you emails the very same day and personal letters the next day. Here are other follow up strategies you should be using.

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PhD students often let themselves get obsessed with making one or two people happy. They fight for the approval of a select few who will never treat them as equals instead of working to build relationships with positive people who will like them just the way they are. They allow negative people not only to stay in their lives, but to influence their decisions. This is a mistake for two essential reasons. First, positive people will not come into your life until the negative ones are gone. Second, you cannot do positive and meaningful work with negative people dragging you down.

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