Chief Executive Officer Cheeky Scientist
Join us as we talk about…
In this week’s episode…
- You’ll learn about 5 networking strategies that you must start implementing.
- Next, you’ll discover how attending the right type of seminars is key to meeting new people and making new contacts.
- Finally, you’ll learn why letters from advisors and committees are not important to industry professionals.
5 Networking Strategies You Must Use
Most PhDs think that their PhD is the beginning and the end of the hiring funnel. The truth is that if you want to get ahead, you need to start building your professional network – and the sooner, the better.
The ideal time to start networking is a year or two before graduating, if not sooner. If you don’t start early, you’re three steps behind graduates who have bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Why? Because they’re already working in industry, and already have a professional network.
There are online and offline techniques for networking in graduate school that you can start using immediately.
Today I want to share five important strategies you can use to build a thriving network by the time you graduate.
The first is to go to the RIGHT seminars. You’ve probably got a few people you’ve run into more than once at the same talks or conferences. Why? Because you’re studying similar things and you’re all looking to network. Stop. It’s time to go to different seminars.
Take a stroll to the far side of campus. Step outside your comfort zone and meet new people from a different discipline. Stick around after the Q&A and exchange information with a few people.
Don’t just go to academic seminars, go to industry seminars. The people giving these presentations are your gateway to a career in industry and your future employers. Get their contact information and find a way to stay in touch.
Another strategy that not enough PhDs take advantage of is reaching out to the authors of your favorite peer-reviewed journals.
It takes a group of very dedicated people a very long time to create each of those articles you’ve been reading. And guess what? These people are under-appreciated. So, show them some appreciation. Find their email addresses and tell them what you liked about their article or ask them an insightful question.
A third strategy to network successfully in grad school is to have an online presence. The worst thing that can happen when you’re networking is that the people you spent so much time introducing yourself to and investing time in can’t find you in a Google search.
Control the conversation by building up your online presence. Create professional social media accounts, start a blog, and join relevant LinkedIn groups.
A fourth tip that I personally have found indispensable is to take notes about the people you talked to while networking.
For instance, you don’t want to walk out of the conference with 50 cards and not remember anything about the people that gave them to you. Whenever you get someone’s card, write down what you talked about or something personal about them on the back. You can do this while you’re still in front of them – it will make them feel important and make you stand out as a professional.
The fifth tip is to quit worrying about letters from your adviser and committee. You might feel like these letters are of tantamount importance now, but they mean absolutely nothing outside of academia.
In industry, recommendations are much more valuable from people who have direct experience working with or supervising you. So connect with those people and nurture a relationship with them after you part ways – you never know when you might need a powerful reference.