As a graduate student nearing the end of her graduate career, I have attended a few talks presented by the Career Center here at the annual meeting. I want to start by saying, if you are a graduate student, postdoc, or someone who is considering transitioning from academia to industry or reverse, I strongly recommend visiting one if not more of the professional development and educational sessions. Joe Tringali and Andrew Green are excellent and engaging speakers with a lot of great advice. I also recommend getting there early because these sessions have been pretty full with only extra seating in the front row (because as we all know, no one wants to sit in the front row…it’s scary).
The main take away point from both of the talks I have attended so far (Networking: Optimizing Your Time Here at BPS 2017, and Beyond Academia: Identifying Your Career Options Using MyIDP, Linkedin & More) is: when trying to make a connection with someone, whether it is a person who has the job you want or someone who is involved in the hiring process at their company or in their department, ask for a small informational interview. It is important to note that this is not for you to interview with them for a job or even ask for a job. This is a meeting over coffee for you to ask them about their journey to getting to where they are, what their company values in their employees, what it is like to work in their field, names of other people in the field that you could contact for information. Basically ask for advice because, according to Joe and Andrew, “Everyone loves giving advice.”
I found this to be very good advice and wanted to share this with all the attendees here at BPS, especially all you graduate students and postdocs out there who may not have a chance to visit the Career Center Workshops. Take a chance here at BPS to meet up with people in positions that you are interested or even curious about. You never know, someone you chat with here may end up helping you get a job down the road!