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Are you a student, graduate or early-career geoscientist?  Are you looking for employment opportunities or seeking to enhance your career, but don't know where to start?  Networking will help you learn about the many opportunities that are out there for geoscientists!  

Here are a few tips that we've learned along the way!

TIP #1: Market Yourself

Contacts and networking are important to find a job in the geosciences. Marketing yourself and making a personal connection with someone in your field is a smart way to set yourself apart and find opportunities that may not have been formally posted. Though available, general applications are not always effective as they make it hard to stand out to potential employers.

So how do you effectively market yourself?

1. Make a positive first impression! 
Prepare and practice your elevator speech: A 30-second description of who you are, what you do and why you do it. 

2. Emphasize interests and strengths. 
DISCUSS your interests in and out of geoscience.
DESCRIBE your strengths and experiences.
EMPHASIZE how your skills can be applied to different situations.
KEEP IT RELEVANT! Stay on topic with your conversation.

3. Sell strengths, share weaknesses. 

  • Emphasize your strengths, but discuss your limitations and what you would like to learn.
  • Be passionate about your science and show your willingness to learn new things.
  • Be confident, but don’t be a “know it all.”

TIP #2: Be Prepared

There are many ways to prepare for formal and informal networking situations. 

  • Ask questions.
  • Be interested in the conversation.
  • Have your contact information on hand.

Here are some guiding questions to help you feel more prepared in a networking situation.  Try to remember a few of these so you can use them in case you get stuck in a conversation and don't know what to say!

1. How did you initially start your geoscience career? 
2. How did you get this particular position?
3. What advice can you share with me about how to start my job search?
4. What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of what you do? 
5. What travel opportunities exist for employees at your company?
6. What is a typical work day or work week like for you?

Formal Networking

For formal networking or informational interviews, it is important to be more specific.

Do your background research! Understand the company’s mission, projects and guiding principles. Use this information to tailor your questions to the company or specific position. 

TIP #3: Follow-Up

Following up with a new contact is critical in order to maintain a professional relationship. Remember, these connections will often act as advisers and advocates on your behalf during your job search. Be prompt with your responses, and use these tips to stay on their radar.

What is an appropriate timeline to follow-up?
Same Day: Send a quick thank you email to your new contact. Be sure to keep your email within the context of your conversation. 
Same Week: Send a handwritten, personalized thank you note. This simple gesture will leave a positive impression for future correspondence. 
Moving Forward: You want to periodically contact them–update them on interesting results of your research or keep them informed of your graduation plans. If they’re local, invite them to coffee to “catch up.” 

Be Pleasantly Persistent
It’s important to keep in mind that your new contact is busy. Don’t get discouraged!