If you’re a business-minded person, you might find this post a little basic, but learning to network has been one of my main focuses (and biggest challenges) since graduating at the end of November. This is a little post about my experience, and maybe it will inspire and bring hope to some other struggling scientist trying to find a career outside of academic research.
In graduate school, I tried to prepare myself for leaving academic science from the moment I identified that my career goals pointed elsewhere. I went to all the free seminars, all the career development discussion panels, all the career fairs. I spoke with people whose jobs I admired and tried to get advice and information. I thought I was soooo prepared. I was not.
I applied for job after job, searching the online postings and having daily email alerts from various job boards clutter my inbox to the tune of 25 messages per day. I had an entire folder on my desktop devoted to resumes and cover letters, and I spent hours each day writing, re-writing, submitting, and agonizing over why I had yet to hear back. I got attached to certain job posts only to get an email saying that they decided to pass me over in favor of other candidates. After months of this, my scientist instinct told me, “Hey, this experiment is not working. This experiment will not work. You need to find another way to get your desired result.”