Networking is an important skill to develop for job seeking and career development both inside and outside academia, yet it is often something that we feel uncomfortable with or find difficult. Many researchers associate networking with ‘working a room’, asking for favours, or behaving like someone from The Apprentice.
In reality, networking is just a natural part of everyday life. At heart, it is simply about interacting with others, which means that every time you talk to someone other than yourself, you are networking.
Framed like this, networking doesn’t have to be about asking for favours; instead, it can simply be about getting to know people. This can happen quickly, by chatting to someone over conference coffee break or making that informal call before you apply for a job, or slowly, over a number of years.
We have some advice and tips to help improve your networking skills, whether you’re naturally outgoing or naturally shy, to help you make the most of your own unique networking strengths.