Hosted By

Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Chief Executive Officer Cheeky Scientist

Join us as we talk about…

In this week’s episode…

  • You will discover the crucial role of technical preparedness
  • You will uncover the link between professionalism and presentation
  • Finally you will recognize the key role of nonverbal communication

I was at a networking event several months ago and this PhD who didn’t know me came up and introduced themselves and then asked me where I worked. I told them and then they told me they never heard of it. Fair. But then they said, “can you get me a job at your company?”. Wait, what? I politely told them to share their resume and then asked what they wanted to do. “I’m pretty desperate at this point, I’ll do anything.” Oh my God. Then they went on to tell me that no one is responding to their resumes or giving them a chance. I hate being in situations like this because what do I say – hey, I mentor PhDs on job searching, let me tell you everything you’re doing wrong.

Nope. That is surely worse. So I gently guide the conversation constructively and help in any way I can. Don’t worry though, the story has a happy ending.

I coached this PhD gently and we ended up working together in full two months ago. They’re now hired into a great role. Still, it’s worth point out some of this PhD’s networking mistakes so others don’t repeat them.

Networking is an art, especially when it’s part of a strategy to get hired. A single misstep or poorly chosen remark can derail months of effort.

Here’s a guide on what not to say when you’re networking for job opportunities.

1. “I’m Desperate for Any Job.” While honesty is a good policy, expressing desperation is a major faux pas. It suggests you’re not interested in the company or the role, just the paycheck.

Here’s a Better Approach: Show enthusiasm for the specific opportunities that align with your skills and interests. Demonstrate how you can add value to the company and team.

2. “I Don’t Like My Current Job/Boss.” Negativity about your current or past employers casts you in a poor light and raises concerns about your professionalism and discretion.

Here’s a Better Approach: Focus on what you’re looking to gain in your next role and how your current job has prepared you to take on new challenges.

3. “Can You Get Me a Job at Your Company?” Putting someone on the spot with a direct request for a job is uncomfortable and imposes undue pressure.

Here’s a Better Approach: Express your interest in their company and ask for advice on how best to apply or inquire about the company’s hiring process.

4. “I Don’t Know Much About Your Company.” Approaching networking without doing your homework shows a lack of initiative and interest. Here’s a Better Approach: Research the company and industry beforehand. Bring up recent news or milestones about the company to show you’re informed and engaged.

5. “I’ll Do Anything!” Being too eager to take on any role can come across as lacking focus and not having a clear career direction.

Here’s a Better Approach: Tailor your conversation to highlight your strengths and how they relate to specific areas within the company where you can contribute effectively.

6. “How Much Does This Job Pay?” Discussing compensation too early in the process can give the impression that money is your only motivation.

Here’s a Better Approach: Wait for the employer or your contact to bring up the topic of compensation. Instead, discuss the responsibilities and growth opportunities within the role.

7. “I’ve Applied a Bunch of Times and Never Hear Back.” This might inadvertently make the person question the quality of your application or professional capabilities.

Here’s a Better Approach: Ask for feedback or suggestions on how to improve your application or make it stand out.

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