Make connections – use and build your network
Use your network to find out more information about roles you might be interested in. Connect with old colleagues who have moved into other roles; ask them what their day-to-day job is like. What is it like working away from the lab? From our experience, postdocs have a lot of questions about working outside academia. The best people to help you answer those questions are the people who have moved into new roles.
Make new connections (e.g. via LinkedIn) to find out what the role you want to apply for is like. Find someone who has the job you are interested in, ask to buy them coffee or if you can have a phone call; the aim is for you to find out what their role entails, what it’s like working in their sector. Gain information to help you determine if it’s the type of role you would be interested in pursuing.
By using your network and making new connections, you’re making yourself better informed about the new career path you’re taking. This can help you understand if you want that type of role, if you want to work for that type of company.
PFDC has collated a list of postdocs and fellows who have moved into roles outside of the academic career path. They have kindly agreed for their name, contact details and job role/company to be shared with Imperial postdocs and fellows so that you can contact them if you have questions about their role or industry.
Ground rules when making connections:
- Don’t just send a CV and ask for a job.
- Contact the person with a purpose – what do you want to find out and why?
- Be respectful; they are allowed to say ‘no, I can’t help with that’.
A good start is to use LinkedIn for job searches and to find out more about careers beyond academia.
Search the huge variety of job titles of people registered on LinkedIn. For example, you might be a computer scientist who enjoys writing algorithms or coding. Try putting the word ‘algorithm’ into a LinkedIn search and just see the range of jobs and organisations that are revealed in the search. Many people will have included terms like this in their skills and job descriptions. This may lead you onto a useful contact or employer, or a job title that you never knew existed.
See the PFDC videos on ‘LinkedIn profile – top tips’ and ‘Using LinkedIn for networking and job searching’ (coming soon).