Hosted By

Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Chief Executive Officer Cheeky Scientist
Image of Isaiah Hankel sitting in armchair

Join Isaiah as he explains how being wary of networking is crippling your job search.

Here’s a quick rundown of this week’s episode…

  • First, Isaiah acknowledges that, yes, networking can be uncomfortable. But it’s not a necessarily evil – it’s an invaluable tool that you must wield in your industry job search
  • Next, Isaiah discusses a few things that introverts can do to make networking less painful
  • Finally, Isaiah reveals how to turn new connections into valuable additions to your career network

From This Week’s Show… 

Being An Introvert Is At The Root Of Your Aversion To Networking

Let’s face it – the majority of PhDs hate talking with strangers and are suspicious of networking.

Why’d this person reach out to me? What’s their ulterior motive?

If you’re suspicious of networking and small talk makes your skin crawl, it’s time to understand that your avoidance is hurting your industry job search.

But there’s a reason companies in Silicon Valley create large campuses designed to create daily run ins with people across departments – it’s these serendipitous moments that spark innovation and collaboration.

Putting yourself out there, meeting new people from a variety of backgrounds, and creating moments of connection are the best way to advance your career.

Go Into Networking Events With A Plan

If being gregarious doesn’t come naturally to you, don’t worry. I have some strategies you can use to feel more genuine and engaged. First, let networking events do the heavy lifting for you.

Go to events that are structured and have premade plans for you to operate a booth, be part of a planned small group chat, and so on. This will keep you from roaming around aimlessly and it will also provide you with structured talking points.

Next, try preparing a few opening lines for conversations in advance that you can use when you’re networking. Not cheesy jokes or awkward ice-breakers, but something that relates to the event.

For starters, you could ask how the other person heard about the event. Pretty simple, right? You can also ask things like “What exciting projects are you working on right now?” or “What do you like most about your job?”

Keep questions for new connections simple and easy to answer. You can also lower the pressure on yourself while networking by giving yourself an attainable goal.

Make it something simple, such as speaking to 3 people for 5 minutes each. That way you don’t feel pressured to keep a weak conversation alive, but you also interacted with the person long enough to make an impression.

Lastly and most importantly, do your research about who will attend networking events whenever you can. A lot of events now provide electronic invites – and oftentimes, they show the people who have accepted the invitation.

For a fundraising event or a professional association meeting, information on the host committee or advisory board is often provided ahead of time. Try and make note of interesting talking points such as where attendees went to school, organizations they’re interested in or papers they’ve published.

Building A Network Shouldn’t Be Painful

As you progress in your industry job search, your network is going to be a crucial part of your success.

Making a slight adjustment to how you think about meeting new people is the first step to building a professional network that works for you.

If you can overcome your suspicions about the importance of networking and resign yourself to the knowledge that this is now a standard job search strategy, the rest of the work should be downhill.

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.

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