Networking is essential for career development and is a skill-set that improves with practice. Interacting with others can help in an assortment of areas such as: with job referrals and companies’ insights. Seventy to eighty percent of hiring happens by knowing someone in the business. It is key to assess your interests and practice some questions beforehand.
How to know yourself better, where to go near Indy and what to ask?
Know your interests, skills and create a plan
The Individual Development Plan (myidp) is a great resource to assess career paths in science. It will match your interest with skills and will help you to target specific people or networking venues.
Fortunately for us, Indiana has several settings to network. NetworkIN and Indy Science Connect have numerous events during the year where you can reach local professionals from broad scientific fields.
Take a look at the American Medical Writer Association if you are considering writing as a career. Indiana has a local chapter where you can participate in career development activities and networking events with current scientific or regulatory writers.
As scientist we are good at execution and project management. The Project Management Institute has a Central Indiana Chapter where every month you can attend seminars (resume/CV, LinkedIn, communication) at no cost for members.
If you want to move scientific discoveries to the bedside, the Society of Clinical Research Associates (SOCRA) Indiana Chapter can be a good place to start. They offer educational activities, certification, and networking opportunities.
At some point we all need to persuade others with ideas and research findings. Don’t forget to ask for an informational interview (look up for the informational interview blog in our page) the next time a sales representative appears at your lab. They can share ways to shift your experience with action verbs.
Science can be done in a legal framework and Indiana also counts with a regulatory science chapter where you can volunteer and network.
Once you decide where to go out for networking, prepare and practice your elevator speech, check DOs/DON’Ts and break the ice with some of these questions.
- What experiences helped you get into this field?
- What are your responsibilities?
- How would you describe a typical day at work?
- What do you like about your job/company? The least?
- Do you have any advice for standing out when applying to this role?
- Can you recommend an association or volunteer activities to get experience in this field?
- Can you bring some advice for my resume or cover letter?
- How is progress measured in this position?
- What types of career development opportunities exist in your field?
- How is the culture in company X?
Remember to listen, follow up and keep in touch!