Networking is a crucial part of any job search. Developing this skill will help you maximise opportunities in both academic and non academic circles. Networking is the process of establishing and cultivating contacts for the purpose of:
- gathering information to make more tailored and focused applications
- communicating your interests and achievements to others with whom you may work or collaborate
- communicating your career aspirations to others who may help
- getting leads on potential job opportunities (Around 60% of jobs are not advertised).
How to network
Many PhD students find networking is difficult, but in reality you're already doing it! Speaking to colleagues in conferences and in the university can be networking. Here are some ideas on how to improve and enlarge your network:
- Maintain a list of your contacts and keep them informed. Are they aware you are looking for a job/work experience/information?
- Maintain an online presence. A blog, website or e-portfolio are ways to keep sustain your network.
- Join relevant mailing lists or discussion boards.
- LinkedIn - online network.
- Academia.edu - online network.
- Research Gate (science) - online network.
- Be strategic – if you are attending conferences, think about who you should approach and why. Make sure you take business cards or contact details with you and follow up on any leads.
- If you are interested in a particular job or sector but have limited knowledge of entry routes try to arrange a Vitae information interview.