Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Let's talk about Networking. Part 1.

This post is inspired by the talk I have given at the University of Geneva.

When I was asked to deliver a talk on Networking as a career tool, I had to do a fair amount of research. I have further decided to publish the key take away messages here. I hope it will be useful for some of you. 

First of all, why out of all people did the representatives of Geneva University ask me to deliver a talk on such subject? Well it was probably because I have started my non-academic job straight after my PhD defence and I got my job through networking.

So what is networking? According to the Business Dictionary definition, networking is "creating a group of acquaintances and associates and keeping it active through regular communication for mutual benefit". But to put it simply, networking is getting to know people.

And why should anyone network? It does not really matter if you are pursuing an academic or a non-academic career, networking is very important. For instance, if you are planning to stay in academia, being bright and hardworking and publishing good is of course very important, but that alone will not be enough to climb the career ladder. It is important to be connected in order to get promoted, because people prefer to do business with someone they know not only by their publications, but also in person.

Another reason for networking is the fact that there is a whole hidden job market. These jobs do not get advertised, because quite often instead of interviewing endless candidates people just prefer to hire someone from their network. Latest data suggests that at least 60% of jobs are found through networking. And in a recent article by the Guardian it was stated that Google hires less than 1% of its online applicants.

People do business primarily with the people they know and like 

Do not forget that job listings tend to attract thousands of applicants. HR department of such companies as Nestle receives thousands applications daily. Your chances of getting your CV spotted are quite scarce unless someone in the company recommends you directly.

But apart from networking in order to get a job, you should also remember that networking is a very important tool of knowledge and ideas exchange.