We all know networking is important. A lot of us can probably list a few ways to network, but acting on it and strategically expanding your network to get a tangible outcome is something we all need help with. It is also something that takes time and effort we sometimes can’t be bothered and just keep pushing it for “later”
“Your Network is your net worth”
a group or system of interconnected people or things
Social media has made people more interconnected and as a result more accessible than any other generation. This post highlights my best tips on using social platforms: LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.
Differentiating instagram use from solely entertainment to potential expansion in your career will involve looking at instagram under a different light.
Following people that have roles that you are interested in. Instagram provides an insight into peoples daily lives that is broken down in detail. From morning coffee to the stresses and even the monotony in everyday roles. For the science community there are many scientist / graduates that show the ins and outs of their days in different fields.
Instagram is quite personal and for that reason you are more than likely to be given the opportunity to ask questions about things you are interested in and the person on the other side is usually more than happy to answer questions.
Following certain hashtags on instagram such as #tech #biology #medicine #coding - allows you to get a broad collection of people using the hashtag and from there filter down to following people that produce content you genuinely enjoy.
Specifying hashtags - e.g #tech has millions of posts so be specific eg use #techstartup #peopleintech #womenintech to narrrow it down.
You can apply this to almost anything there are people in EVERY field so start your search and filter down people that align with your goals.
Take home message:
field / sector interested in
Main hashtag ( eg #lifescience #biology #womeninstem
filtered hashtag #cardiology #echocardiography #blackwomeninstem
I have found twitter to be the most beneficial and easiest to build genuine connections and friendships. The great thing about twitter is that you can mix personal and professional or keep your feed strictly professional and not share any personal information.
Twitter has perfected the idea of creating communities through the use of hashtags and tagging specific accounts. To fully maximise your twitter account, you need to understand the different types of accounts you can follow.
Curated accounts: these are big accounts that usually have new people sharing their experiences every week of the year.
Stem accounts include: @mioritiesinstem @steminist
A pro of following these accounts is that you get exposure to different fields of people and it’s especially easy for someone new to the platform. Based of how you interact here, you can build up a list of people that you gravitate towards.
By curating @stemist account i managed to write a whole blog post with tips on reading scientific articles.
Personal accounts: by this i mean big accounts that get a lot of interaction.With these you can get an insight into other accounts to follow and keep up to date with conversation regarding your specific community
You can also find professionals in your given field as by searching key word of your sector ie biology/ marketing/ law etc - ( same concept as the hashtags from instagram above)
Member organisation accounts: @bbstem @bwisnetwork Any learned society eg @royalsociety @physicsscoiry @womendoingscience
These provide you with direct access to information relevant to you. Some accounts like @bwisnetwork have regular threads where followers engage and from here you can find new people to engage with or have light hearted conversations within your specific community
Magazines/ publications: @financial times @nature
I find that twitter is a great place to follow as you can also see the reactions of a wide audience. This will build general awareness on a topic and make your search for a job easier as you are constantly exposed to passing headlines. Don’t underestimate how your subconscious picks up information.
Heads of organisations: a lot of leads have twitter accounts - top professionals often post in a teaching tone or about their latest research: this is a passive way to stay engaged with a particular research group or research area. You can also bookmark tweets and read this later on
It's nice to follow these people just to see what they think and what they are interacting with. A career search is a well rounded endeavour as you are possibly looking for what will occupy time for a while, being over prepared always better than being underprepared. Nothing compares to the real thing, but learning from people behaviours can give you a feel for what the industry is like.
Finally hastags for trends or follow train/ accounts
Accounts like @bbblogger encourage black british bloggers to share their content -> from this you can get new readers or find new accounts for yourself to follow
@academicchatter / #phdchat get a wide range of people to engage with your tweets even if its just a simple question about the broad scope of academia and phd’s.
There are many follow threads on twitter that involve describing yourself especially within the science community -> this is a nice way to find people and people to start following you and build connections that way.
Trends such as #100daysofcode or #30daymusic challenge #100daysofdesign -> may seem light hearted but this can be an amazing way to increase your audience or put yourself out there in a less cringe way until you get accustomed to the idea of selling yourself. Jumping in a hashtag trend is a lovely way to interact with people and get them to interact with you as well.
Did i save the best for last …?
If you haven’t made an account, I suggest you make one now. One handy thing is it will most likely be the first thing that comes up if someone/ potential employer googles you.
Most people go ahead to make an account and don’t know what to do with it next. You make an account, add a few people from university and sprinkle a bunch of friends and call it a day.
At this point you realise you haven’t done much and only open the app every few weeks and maybe months if that.
Through passing conversation, people also avoid linkedIn due to not feeling “proffesional enough”. This is a very understandable concern, but it is important to remember that everyone starts somwhere. You don’t need to have all your ducks in a row to have a LinkedIn account. You are making one to grow and therefore no one will expect you to be perfect. As you grow your connections, you will naturally build your profile.
LinkedIn top feature: you can map out your career and see your suitability towards a job by just looking up people that have that role and seeing their trajectory. It is a bit creepy as these people can see you’ve viewed their profile but send a few polite messages if you are really keen and that could turn into a conversation
E.g When applying for big grad schemes or certain roles i would look at the people that previously had the role and check my CV if it matched their profile. I would also message people with the folllowing format.
Short background: usually a line
Question: the question is usually a short one, to see if they would reply. It is a bit intimidating if you message a stranger with 10 questions. So keep it short and sweet. Depending on their response, you can continue a conversation that may lead to emails exchanged or a phone call.
The key in sending a message is to remain polite. I will outline in part 2- how to reach out and build genuine relationships.
Use your LinkedIn profile as a template for your actual CV - if you already have one done, its completely easy to fill in your profile and the reverse applies. If you don’t know where to strat with your CV, the structure linkedin provides will help you put words together. You can also go look at people with similar roles and see how their profiles are set up and use as a guide.
Posting on linkedin - i still struggle with this aspect but a few tips i have found
Reshare content that comes across your feed with a genuine comment if it comes natural to you. If you have more than a few words write a sentence or two when you reshare the post.
When following people posting research or content, do not be afraid to ask questions in the comment section and this will be the beginning of you building that relationship
To end this post , here is a guide of the types of accounts and which social platforms are best to follow and keep up to date on.