Cheeky Logo
Ready To Get Hired?
Apply To Book A Free Call With Our Transition Specialist Team

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

Close up of handshake in the office

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

Portrait of cheerful young manager handshake with new employee.

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…

7 Deadly Mistakes PhDs Make When Networking For A Job

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.

How To Start And End A Conversation And Avoid Awkward Silences At Networking Events

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.

3 Networking Blunders Every Unemployed PhD Makes

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.

How To Get A Job Referral After An Industry Networking Event

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.

5 Personality Types To Avoid At Your Next PhD Networking Event

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.

6 Networking Event Tips For Quiet, Introverted PhDs (Like Me)

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.

PhDs should go to networking events.

Why PhDs Should Stop Going To PhD Networking Events

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.

8 Networking Tips For PhDs To Advance Their Careers

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.

5-Step Guide To Successful Networking At In-Person Events

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.

5-Step Plan To Get Job Referrals At A Career Fair

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.

17 Strategies For Introverts To Use When Networking For Job Referrals

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.

Book a Transition Call
Get Free Job Search Content Weekly


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.

Catherine Sorbara, Ph.D.

Similar Articles

Your Professional Brand Is Academia. 5 Questions To Change It

Your Professional Brand Is Academia. 5 Questions To Change It

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

What’s your professional brand?  As a researcher, my conclusions are based on proven facts and quantifiable results. The concept of something as subjective as brand or image had never felt particularly relevant to me.  I’d heard the question, of course. When you’ve been looking for a job for over a year, you’re bound to come across the idea.  But now, face to face with a recruiter who had turned me down for a job, I was really trying to come up with an intelligent answer.  “What’s my brand?” I asked. I guess feigning ignorance was one way to go.  “Yes,…

Don’t Ignore These 6 Powerful PhD Job Search Trends

Don’t Ignore These 6 Powerful PhD Job Search Trends

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

What does your job search strategy look like?  If you had to describe it in 2 or 3 sentences, what would you say?  I ask because, if you’re reading this, you’re in the market for a job. Working with PhDs for more than 10 years, I’ve learned one thing is true above all others: The right job strategy is what’s going to get you hired. That’s right: I’m saying that a concrete job search methodology is more important than anything else in your job search.  It’s more important than your skills, your degree, your personality – more important than you,…

A No-Excuses Look at Virtual Networking

A No-Excuses Look at Virtual Networking

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

A lot of PhDs ignore a crucial part of their job search – virtual networking. You may think that because you’re spending a lot of time going to conferences, attending lectures, setting up face-to-face meetings, and checking in with one or two connections when you need a reference or referral that you’ve established your professional network.  Virtual Networking Casts A Wider Net, Even After The Pandemic Nope, you’re networking by halves if you’re only networking in-person. I kept seeing a former colleague of mine at conferences really making the most out of his time networking in person. Everybody knew this…

A Pitch-Perfect Elevator Script For PhDs In Industry

A Pitch-Perfect Elevator Script For PhDs In Industry

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

I had heard of the term “elevator script” before my first industry interview.  Was I sure what it meant? No. But I got the gist of it: introduce yourself in a compelling way during an interview or networking session. Don’t annoy someone in an elevator. I dismissed the idea of learning more about it than that If I remember correctly, I told myself that it was nothing more than a remedial gimmick. One of those unnecessary “life hacks” that clueless people gobble up to calm their nerves before an interview.  Definitely not something a PhD graduate with a background in…

How To Get A Referral Without The Messy Emotions

How To Get A Referral Without The Messy Emotions

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Towards the end of my PhD, I felt like I was racing time. And time was winning. I was frantically trying to wrap up loose ends in my research, finish writing my thesis, all the while trying to find a job. I knew I wanted a job in industry. In fact, I knew exactly the job I wanted. I just didn’t know how to get there. I was sending my resume off into the abyss of the internet, but I wasn’t getting any replies. I couldn’t fathom what I was doing wrong. The whole thing felt pointless. Now, looking back…

5 Insider Rapport Building Tips (or, How To Make In Person Networking Non-Dreadful)

5 Insider Rapport Building Tips (or, How To Make In Person Networking Non-Dreadful)

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Like many PhDs, I’m an introvert. That means my tendency is to avoid face-to-face interactions at all costs. But when it came time to search for a job in industry, my introverted tactics weren’t working. I was reaching out to people online, even getting a few responses, but in the end, all my efforts fell flat. After months of this, I was right where I started – unemployed. Then, I started noticing what my colleagues were doing; the ones that were getting job referrals and interviews at least. They weren’t just reaching out to people online, they were also attending…

6 Credible Networking Scripts That Make Employers Pay Attention

6 Credible Networking Scripts That Make Employers Pay Attention

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Just as “location, location, location” is the mantra of real estate, “networking, networking, networking” should be your mantra during your industry job search. During the final year of my PhD, I finally conceded – the only way I was going to get a job in industry was through networking. So, like many PhDs, I fired up my computer, hopped on LinkedIn, and clicked the blue “connect” button until my fingers ached. I sent out the same message to each new contact telling them about all my wonderful accomplishments before I asked them for a job. You know what happened after…

Master The Informational Interview (And How To Land A Referral)

Master The Informational Interview (And How To Land A Referral)

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

By the time I started my industry job search, I was desperate. I was nearing the end of my PhD and I was consumed with what seemed like a million last-minute tasks – final experiments, last drafts, and defense presentations. I felt like I didn’t have the time to dedicate to my job search. And what little effort and time I did put into it was haphazard. My attempts involved repeatedly clicking the LinkedIn “Connect” button and uploading the same resume to any online job posting I could find. To make matters worse, I wasn’t even sure what job I…

6 Ways PhDs Waste Their Time At In-person Networking Events (And What You Should Do Instead)

6 Ways PhDs Waste Their Time At In-person Networking Events (And What You Should Do Instead)

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Networking in person is key to getting a job in industry. Despite knowing this, I avoided doing it at all costs during my PhD. I tried it a few times at scientific conferences, but nothing happened. It seemed pointless. Not only that, but it was down-right scary. And so, like many PhDs, I gave up. I allowed myself to make excuses. I thought “I’m way too busy to attend all these networking events”… or, “I don’t need to network – if I just send out enough resumes online, I’ll surely land a job”. But boy, was I wrong! I can’t…

Top Industry Career eBooks

63 Best Industry Positions For PhDs

63 Best Industry Positions For PhDs

Isaiah Hankel, PhD & Arunodoy Sur, PhD

Learn about the best 63 industry careers for PhDs (regardless of your academic background). In this eBook, you will gain insight into the most popular, highest-paying jobs for PhDs – all of which will allow you to do meaningful work AND get paid well for it.

Industry Resume Guide for PhDs

Industry Resume Guide for PhDs

Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Learn how to craft the perfect industry resume to attract employers. In this eBook for PhDs, you will get access to proven resume templates, learn how to structure your bullet points, and discover which keywords industry employers want to see most on PhD resumes.

AI & ATS Resume Filters

AI & ATS Resume Filters

Isaiah Hankel

In today's competitive job market, understanding the impact of AI is crucial for career success. This involves ensuring your resume stands out in the digital realm, mastering your online presence, and being aware of how AI assigns reputation scores. Discovering how to leverage AI to your advantage is essential, as it plays a pivotal role in shaping professional opportunities.

Complete LinkedIn Guide For PhDs

Complete LinkedIn Guide For PhDs

Isaiah Hankel

The LinkedIn tips & strategies within have helped PhDs from every background get hired into top industry careers.