The ‘Networking post-COVID’ Webinar Summary and Recording
jobs.ac.uk partnered with Dr. Mhairi Towler, CEO and Founder of Vivomotion to host a 30-minute online webinar ‘Networking post-COVID’ aimed to share the importance of networking and how to build your network (in person and digitally online). You can now view the full webinar recording or read on for a summary of the main points exploring the topics:
1. What is networking?
Does the word ‘networking’ make you think of the words: ‘dread’, ‘fear’, ‘daunting’, ‘nervous’, or ‘scared’? Dr. Mhairi Towler explains how networking doesn’t need to feel that way by providing the understanding that networking is about making mutually beneficial connections, a way to build your value and build your community, and outlines what the key characteristics of networking are:
- Forming relationships
- Build in positive things you enjoy throughout the day, week, and across exam season
- Purposeful and planned operation
- Not about using people but using the information they give
- Asking people for their help and advice
2. Why network?
Networking can help career progression and open doors to new opportunities such as:
- Building relationships within your organisation
- Obtaining invitations to speak at conferences and events
- Changing careers and getting your next job
- Finding partners to collaborate with
- Seeking moral support
3. Networking opportunities
Whether you’re seeking your next job or trying to find a collaborator when it comes to making your network for you, Dr. Mhairi Towler shares how first you need to:
- Identify what your goals are
- Recognise what information you need
- Find out who has the information you need
- Figure out how you can get the information
A few examples to support the development of your network include: speaking with senior colleagues to ask about conferences or events they know about, joining relevant societies, signing up for newsletters, attending events within your university, and researcher networks.
When attending conferences and events, Dr. Mhairi Towler considers the following tactics to network:
- Engaging on Twitter to get yourself noticed
- Applying to speak or present a poster
- Asking to give a talk at a university instead of waiting to be invited
- Finding out who is attending ahead of time so you can target people you’d like to talk to
- Try not to stick with your group when attending
- Make sure to ask questions
- Consider attending events outside your sector
4. Strategies for building your network
If you’re struggling to build your network, here are a few strategies you can implement to help you get started:
- Promote your work on social media
- Have a website
- Nurture your contacts by keeping in touch with them
- Join committees, societies, and associations if you have time to commit
- Map out your contacts (personal and professional)
- Attend conferences and events that are relevant to what you want to do
- Turn up early to conferences and events to be the first person, so the next person who arrives has to talk to you and you’re not the person trying to break into a group to talk to someone
- Stay around at the end of conferences and events to get a chance to speak one to one with speakers from the events
- Ensure to follow up with new connections that you make such as sending a note saying you enjoyed meeting them
5. How to network online using social media
Social media is great to build a personal brand, connect with others, and use algorithms to deliver information of interest to you. It’s a form of self-promotion, where you can join in important conversations that are happening within your sector to establish yourself as an expert. Consistently showing up on social media can help people get to know who you are, your work, and your values.
The New York Times reports that Generation Z uses TikTok as a search engine rather than Google, so if you’re looking to engage with a young audience TikTok provides a great opportunity. For academics, LinkedIn and Twitter are recommended platforms.
Here are three actions you can do today to grow your network:
- Use social media and make a social media strategy to try to get yourself noticed and profile the work you are doing
- Re-connect with someone from your network e.g., someone you used to work with in a previous role
- Connect with someone on the call today or whom you’ve met through LinkedIn
Overall, the webinar highlights how having a strong network is going to be important in terms of building your career, building your personal brand, getting yourself and your work noticed and profile out there, and building your value and your community.
View the full webinar recording to watch the summary of the main points or browse jobs.ac.uk career advice section to find articles such as Networking: How to Maximize Opportunities and Boost Your Career Connections and ECRs: Sharpening your virtual networking strategies for more discussion on how to network.
Presenter: Dr. Mhairi Towler, Founder and CEO of Vivomotion
Dr. Mhairi Towler has a degree in Biochemistry and a PhD in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of Dundee. She has carried out postdoctoral work, both in San Francisco and Dundee and was a founder and Co-chair of the College of Life Sciences Postdoctoral Association. Since then, Mhairi also completed a PgCert in teaching and learning in Higher Education and has gone on to set up her own multi-award winning animation production company, Vivomotion, after receiving a Masters in Animation and Visualisation. Mhairi is an alumni of The Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Young Academy Scotland.