Speed dating networking events number validating a meeting

Gary Mc Dowell, Tufts University Postdoctoral Association President Graduate students and postdocs tend to spend the majority of their time at the bench, believing that this is the only path towards getting a job.

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For those with experience of the cultural phenomenon of “speed dating”, the premise will be familiar.

35 postdocs and grad students were divided up into groups “dating” 15 professionals at themed tables: academia; industry; patent law; journal editing; regulatory affairs; business development; and administration.

For 10 minutes, questions and conversations were exchanged to give students and postdocs an idea of some of the work involved in different careers and areas where they could build relevant experience for a particular role.

Then, appropriately, a lab timer would beep and each group of postdocs and grad students would get up and rotate to another table.

After everyone had met, there was time and space for more one-on-one networking.

Contact details were made freely available afterwards to attendees, to get in touch and connect with professionals who most engaged them in discussing career aspirations.

All students and postdocs involved found the session extremely useful not only to talk about careers they were interested in, but also to develop necessary skills for the job search.

Here are some of the things they learned from the networking session.

The Elevator pitch Everyone in attendance at the event found it useful to try their “elevator pitch”; a 2-minute synthesis of their research and interests for a variety of different audiences.

Lab meetings and seminars give researchers an opportunity to communicate their science to a knowledgeable audience and occasionally there is the opportunity for teaching material to a group of students.

However there is often little opportunity to explain, in a professional setting, what your research is and in particular, how that research should be of interest to the person talking to you.

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