Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Networking Tools

When I think of networking, I think of awkward social occasions where everyone looks very studiously at their drink and avoids talking to others as much as possible (or maybe that's just me).  But coming into the final year of my PhD, I do need to be more proactive, especially thinking about my future career.  Thankfully being proactive doesn't necessarily mean I need to go to more networking events (although that would be useful), I can network online with sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and ResearchGate.

I thought of the top three researchers in my field and typed their names into Google to see what networking tools they use; for two of the researchers their LinkedIn page was pretty high up the rankings, with ResearchGate featuring lower down (or on the next page).  As for the other researcher, I was surprised not to find much on him at all except for a page from his home institution - it highlighted the importance of these networking tools in projecting the image you want people to discover.

I already use LinkedIn, and apparently my profile strength is "expert", but my profile isn't maximised like some I've seen.  I have 35 connections, which is ok, but not brilliant, and my endorsements are severely lacking (thank you to my partner for my "organisation" endorsement).  I need to put more effort into my profile and add more people.

I signed up to ResearchGate and created a profile.  Just need to write some papers and get them published now as my profile looks a little bare...  I've followed some people I know from the University and from conferences - very few of my "main workplace" colleagues are on there, but none of them seem very proactive with this sort of thing.

My Facebook profile isn't geared towards professional/research based activities (in fact I hardly use it at all these days), but I believe I've set up my profile so it's fairly private (although I should check this).  I'm happy to keep Facebook for my personal life and use other networking tools to promote myself professionally.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

The Start of the 23 Things Programme

I'm going to be doing the "23 Things for Research Surrey" programme which is being run by the RDP team at Surrey (find out more here).  Part of the programme involves setting up a blog, which is something I've been meaning to do for ages, so here goes!

I'll be using this blog for reflective posts during the 23 Things programme, and documenting what I've learnt.  I'm a social media user currently - I tweet (and retweet) about science and other topics of interest, but I've pretty much abandoned Facebook, and my LinkedIn page is fairly underwhelming.  I'm sure there are other digital tools I could be using, which I'm looking forward to learning about, as well as improving my writing and communication skills.