I Feel Like I’m Drowning When I’m Networking – 11 Articles I Found To Make It Easier
My university was holding a women-in-the-biotech-industry speaking event.
I was so excited to attend.
My PhD was coming to a close, I had no job lined up, and I honestly didn’t really know what I wanted to do after I graduated.
The event was on a Wednesday night at 6pm – well before I was usually done in the lab.
So, when the event rolled around, of course I was running late.
An experiment I was doing had failed, so I had to set it up all over again.
By the time I got to the hall, everyone was seated and the speaking was about to begin — I’d missed the pre-event networking.
And, I was flustered.
But, as soon as these amazing women started to speak, I was inspired and filled with excitement about transitioning into industry.
The talks ended and the networking began.
Suddenly, I was filled with dread.
What would I say to these people?
Why would they even want to talk to me?
What was I doing here?
I felt my face flush as I tried to initiate a conversation with someone, but spoke so quietly they didn’t even realize I was speaking to them.
They just walked away from me.
I felt so embarrassed that I immediately left and went straight back to the lab.
I never wanted to attend a networking event again.
But, all the successful panelists spoke about how important networking was in industry.
I needed help.
I needed guidance on how I could make networking a less painful experience.
And, I found the advice I need in my alternative career mentor.
It took some time, but eventually I got the hang of this networking thing and it was instrumental to my industry transition.
Why There Is No Substitute For In-Person Networking
Are you still doubting the value of networking in your job search?
A report in the Academy of Management Journal showed that successful industry professionals spend 70% more time networking than their less successful counterparts.
And, Forbes reported that 80% of job openings are never advertised.
The only way to achieve success and to have access to the hidden job market is to network with people in industry.
But, are you networking to the fullest?
If you are only networking online, from the comfort of your couch, then you are not getting all the benefits of networking.
Yes, LinkedIn is an amazing networking platform.
It is a great place to build your industry network and foster relationships with your connections.
But, it cannot be the only way you network.
You must get out from behind the computer and go to events.
You must meet people in person.
In-person contact is extremely valuable in relationship-building (a.k.a. networking).
According to Harvard Business Review, a request made in person is 34 times more successful than one made via email.
This is because when you speak in person, you are able to communicate so much better than just via text.
Even if you are a bit shy or awkward, you still communicate more when you are in person.
As reported by Psychology Today, the words we choose when communicating make up only 7% of how we actually communicate.
When networking online, through emails and messaging, word choice (just 7% of what you are trying to say) is the only part of your communication that is coming across.
The other 93% is lost.
That’s why meeting in person and going to events is so important.
It’s the only way you can fully communicate the value that you have — the value that you as a PhD will bring to a company.
Don’t sell yourself short by avoiding event networking.
Instead, jump in and enjoy the benefits.
Cheeky Scientist Top 11 Event Networking Articles
Every large organization hosts networking events.
Whether they are lunches, mixers, meetups or conferences, everyone is holding events that allow people to meet in person.
But, why go to the trouble, when the Internet makes this unnecessary?
We could just chat about our research online, right?
They host these events because online networking is nowhere near as valuable as meeting in person.
All big deals are made in person.
All big decisions are made in person.
And, for your job search to see a big boost, you must attend in-person networking events.
Here are the top 11 Cheeky Scientist articles to help PhDs become networking masters and fully enjoy the benefits that come from in-person networking…
Do you hope to get hired into an industry position?
Do you hope to have a c-suite job one day?
Do you hope to take on management responsibilities in the future?
Then, you’d better start networking — properly.
A survey published on LinkedIn showed that 85% of jobs are filled through networking efforts.
You have to know how to network — there’s no way around it.
The key to good networking, is to avoid the critical mistakes that many PhDs make when they first start networking with industry professionals.
This article will help you avoid common networking mistakes, and in turn increase your chances of getting hired in industry.
Networking events can be awkward — really awkward.
Standing alone, intensely staring at your drink, pretending it’s a lot more interesting than it is.
But, you can’t network with your drink.
Yes, starting a conversation or joining a group of people is a challenge.
But, if you go into the event with a plan, then you can overcome this challenge.
It’s nothing compared to the challenges you faced while earning your PhD.
This article walks you through the strategy that PhDs can follow to smoothly start and end conversations at networking events.
Have you been networking, but aren’t seeing the results you want?
Then, you are probably doing it wrong.
Graduate school doesn’t teach you how to network, so many PhDs don’t know the right way to interact with industry professionals.
But, these common mistakes are holding you back.
They are keeping you from getting the referrals you need to get hired.
This article highlights 3 common networking mistakes you need to avoid.
Harvard University Review concluded that job seekers without social connections are at a significant disadvantage in the labor market.
Attending networking events is important.
This is where you have the opportunity to connect with new people and make a good impression on them.
But, in order for networking to be successful, it doesn’t stop when the event is over.
The real power of networking is in your follow-up.
A good follow-up plan is how you will get referrals.
This article discusses how you can make the most of networking events and get referrals to enhance your job search.
You can’t just show up to an event, hand out a few business cards, and expect to get a strong job referral.
Did you just show up and merely sit at your desk every day to earn a PhD?
No, you put in the work.
Networking is the same.
The worst mistake you can make is to show up to a networking event, not put in the work, and then end up looking like a fool.
You are better than that.
This article details how, instead of looking like a fool at your next networking event, you can walk away with a few referrals.
The life of PhD students is largely solitary.
And, the many introverted PhDs enjoy it that way.
But, to get hired in industry, you cannot remain solitary and avoid networking events like they are contagious diseases.
Networking is just another skill you have to learn.
And, even introverts can be expert networkers.
This article shares some excellent tips for introverted PhDs who want to network successfully.
How many hours a week do you spend at your university, surrounded by other academic PhDs?
Probably more than you care to admit.
So, why would you go to a networking event with these same people?
Why go exclusively to networking events with other PhDs who are also looking for jobs?
It’s time to branch out.
It’s called “Blue Ocean” networking, and it can catalyze your job search.
This article discusses why the success of your job search hinges on your attendance at non-PhD networking events.
Networking is a constant.
It is something that you should do before you need a job, when you are looking for a job, and after you have a new job.
Basically, networking happens all the time.
In fact, successful industry professionals network 70% more than their less successful counterparts.
Do you want your dislike for networking to cost you a job or a promotion?
No, of course you don’t.
This article outlines 8 tips PhDs can use to network and advance their careers, no matter what stage you are at.
It’s no secret that networking is an important part of getting hired in industry.
Nevertheless, many PhDs still only do the bare minimum when it comes to networking.
If you can get past your excuses and put real energy into networking, you will see benefits.
The more successful your networking efforts, the more successful your job search will be.
And, in-person networking must play a part in your networking strategy.
This article is your guide to a successful networking event.
Reaching out to industry professionals you don’t know, and asking for help, is foolish and a waste of your time.
They have no reason to connect with you, help you connect with others, or help you get a job.
They don’t even know you.
Intelligent PhDs know that they need to add value before asking for anything.
The best way to get hiring managers, recruiters, and industry professionals to start helping you is to start helping them first.
Learn the best strategy for networking with industry professionals.
It’s clear that networking is an important part of searching for a job.
But, for many of us, networking is hard.
This goes double for introverts.
Introverts often find talking with new people difficult and exhausting.
You may not be sure where to start or how to follow up.
But, remember you are a PhD, and you can learn anything.
This article contains 17 great tips for PhDs, including introverts, to become networking masters.
There is no substitute for in-person networking events.
There just isn’t. It is the fastest way to build a relationship with a new contact.
It’s the most effective way to make an ask. It’s the best way to get a referral.
There is just something about meeting in person and seeing someone’s face that takes a relationship to a whole new level — a level where people become more comfortable giving referrals.
So, it is not surprising that in order to get hired into a PhD-level position, you need to become a networking expert.
You need to learn the ins and outs of networking strategies, tips, and plans so that you can leave your next networking event knowing that you earned a few referrals.
If you’re ready to start your transition into industry, you can apply to book a free Transition Call with our founder Isaiah Hankel, PhD or one of our Transition Specialists. Apply to book a Transition Call here.
ABOUT CATHERINE SORBARA, PH.D.
Cathy has a PhD in Medical Life Science and Technology and is COO of the Cheeky Scientist Association. Cathy is passionate about science communication including translating science to lay audiences and helping PhDs transition into industry positions. She is Chair of Cambridge AWiSE, a regional network for women in science, engineering and technology. She has also been selected to take part in Homeward Bound 2018, an all-female voyage to Antarctica aimed to heighten the influence of women in leadership positions and bring awareness to climate change.More Written by Catherine Sorbara, Ph.D.