I hope you have enjoyed looking through the blog, commenting and reading the comments of others, and the resources. I particularly hope that you will have enjoyed the networking session, and that you’ll get involved with lots more networking opportunities with confidence! Thanks for getting involved.
Further reading and resources:
Benefits of Networking for Early career
Still not convinced of the benefits of networking? The Shinton Consulting resource is designed for researchers but is very transferable to graduates who want to follow other potential careers.
Culture plays a big part in any communication, and face to face networking is no different. Geert Hofstede has spent his life researching different working cultures around the world. He has written many books and these underpin the highlights on his website, including a country comparison tool so you can see how other countries differ from your own in their working cultures.
The academic jobs website has a series of country profiles which provide some insights into differences in academic systems and cultures.
Rosie Redfield, a microbiology lab leader from the University of British Columbia, lists the many opportunities to initiate conversations at conferences and shares her ideas for conversation openers
Knowing what to say
Do your homework. Andy Tay, a PhD student in the bioengineering department of the University of California, Los Angeles has blogged about how preparation can reduce nerves when networking and reduce the chances of saying the wrong thing.
The HumNet (Humanities Network at the University of Manchester) has developed a networking resource which includes a list of questions that you can tailor to ask for help from someone.
It’s perfectly natural to feel anxious about approaching experts and potentially demonstrating your relative ignorance. However, the potential benefits of connecting with someone important and knowledgeable in your field should outweigh the fear of approaching them. You aren’t the only one who feels like this.
Talking with colleagues will probably reveal very similar feelings and it may help to read this blog post from Professor Dame Athene Donald where she encourages younger researchers to have confidence at conferences – again, this is really transferrable advice for early career in any job:
If you think you are unusual in feeling insecure in an academic community, a quick search online for ‘academic imposter syndrome’ should put those fears to rest. It is perhaps related to the tendency of people in research to continue to learn about unfamiliar ideas and to push themselves and their understanding, but the fear of being found out for knowing less than you think you should be is fairly common. There are many resources to find on this topic but the ‘I’m not worthy’ refrain of the Research Whisperer’s guest post from Jay Thompson may strike a chord.
As he says, imposter syndrome can strike at any point in a career, as evidenced by this post from Professor Dame Athene Donald.
Again, imposter syndrome is not just for researchers – so the advice stands for any professional job you pursue.
If you would like to know more about how to curate your digital presence, check out UoE’s Mooc on the subject, a short, free of charge, online course https://www.coursera.org/learn/digital-footprint
Keeping in touch as alumni
Platform One is a new way for people connected to the University of Edinburgh to get connected with each other. It’s for students, staff, alumni and, in fact, anyone else who would like to join the network. http://www.ed.ac.uk/platform-one
Digital Networking – some ideas
Please submit any general questions or comments below, and please also find some further reading and links to sites when you can find more networking opportunities. Please also submit any other ideas, links, resources and comments!