Networking is about building relationships. It isn’t the impatient, somewhat smarmy “What can you do for me?” exercise that many novices see it as — and if you’re doing it that way, it probably isn’t doing much for you. If, instead, you approach networking as a long-term investment in creating meaningful connections, it can help you build the career you want. For Ph.D.’s seeking to pursue a nonacademic career, networking can be especially challenging, particularly if you are targeting an industry that is not uniformly distributed geographically.
For instance, I live in San Diego, home to one of the large hubs of biotech companies. That gives me a natural advantage when looking for a job in the biotechnology industry, and, indeed, my local network is full of people in that industry. Even when I was in graduate school, I knew people who worked in biotech, and the only reason I didn’t know more was that I didn’t put much effort into networking. Furthermore, the natural migration of people over the course of their careers has created geographic offshoots in my network, so even if I wanted to relocate to one of the other biotech hubs, I would have contacts already in those cities. Read Melanie Nelson’s full article at Vitae