Two things, that today’s working world would class as soft-skills, but both are so so incredibly important to your journey in becoming a skilled individual within whichever area you choose to dominate.
Conversation. I’ll use GIS as an example here, so about a year and a half ago, I was invited to an awards for a business dinner at York University, where I was presenting some information on Girls in Science and the impact we had made within the community. I decided to stay and speak to some of the investors there, exchange business cards and ask about their firms. On the way out; a lady was helping to put away the chairs, and I asked if she was alright – she looked like she had her hands full. I think I mentioned something about how she should rest the next day as she had worked super hard that evening . She responded that she wouldn’t be able to because she was attending a Women in BioEconomy event the next day at a hotel in the city. She had heard of GIS at that point and recommended that I should come , I agreed, and tried to note down in my head the name of the organisers she mentioned.
I looked it up on the way home, the tickets had sold out , so I called the organisers and they said it would still be alright to go. I went. And it was an amazing evening. The main organiser : Iris Anderson became one of my key mentors, and in-fact I held my very first event with her a couple of months later with her network and my network of GIS Girls up in York that ended up being such a monumental time for us. – All because of one conversation.
Make friends not contacts.
One of my favorite quotes ever, and I don’t even know who said it. Basically. If you walk into an event (which due to lockdown you probably aren’t right now) -or you become a part of an online network like LinkedIn for example, you get to decide who you connect to. If its in-person, walk over to the food table , comment on canapes, find someone by them-self and ask if they know anyone at the event. If its online, and you see an interesting article and you notice 12 other people have commented on the same thing, then take a look at a few and follow them. Type in key words on the top bars and find people that follow or work at institutions, and companies you admire.
THEN JUST ASK.
The only thing you will get in life without asking is an infectious disease.– Pinky Linani
Get their email address and send an email, and just be honest; something along the words of : ‘ Hello ! I’ve heard about your works in bio-informatics and its an area of really big interest for me, do you mind if I ask a few questions ?’
If they respond, perfect. If they don’t … find the next person that will help you. You don’t have go big and ask them for a job or an internship , or £30,000 to fund your research (right off the bat;) but, if you genuinely admire something about their work , or want to share an idea for a 2nd opinion or just want to find out more about their job or career. Ask.
Connections lead to conversations, and conversations lead to connections.
Both are mandatory to help you be as efficient as you can in terms of progressing your career and educational pathway.
If you need some help with pairing, or you want someone specifically within the GIS Network ; click here for more information on GIS Connect.