April 7, 2017

Schmoozing 101

By Ashley Call

It’s late Thursday night, and I’m getting ready for a full day of schmoozing tomorrow as I visit the campus where I may potentially do my doctoral research. Beyond the mental preparation it takes to smile all day and conjure up fresh questions to ask of my future colleagues, I’m thinking about this post from the Pedant in March 2015. Join me as I review these key tips for academic schmoozing.

1. Networking is half the job hunt

According to the career-education company Simmons, 70 to 80 percent of job seekers find their jobs through contacts. As few as 20 percent land their jobs through the traditional “reactive” job search method—i.e., applying for posted positions on job boards or want ads. Additionally, nearly 80 percent of available jobs are never advertised. You can uncover this hidden job market through networking.

2. Don’t underestimate online networking

Using social media like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Academia.edu allows job seekers to network horizontally and vertically with ease; to form contacts with people to whom they wouldn’t normally have access; and to curate a professional presence with incredible reach. Make sure that all of your profiles are free from typos, that they highlight your background and highest accomplishments, and that they are free from all inappropriate content.

3. Nothing beats the real thing

Whereas online networking is a giant component to the contemporary job search, the academic community is still deeply mired in personal, face-to-face connections.

Former CGU Career Development Office Director Paul Hardister encourages students to “spend as much time offline as you spend online . . . many students can overlook the importance of face-to-face interaction with people in their fields.” One of the best ways to get this type of networking in is to join your field’s professional associations and go to their conferences and events.

4. Master the elevator pitch

Having a few years of graduate school behind you, you know that you will be frequently asked, “So what do you work on?” According to the Institute for Humane Studies, “It’s essential to make sure you have a quick answer, preferably one that invites your interlocutor to inquire further about what you’re doing.”

5. Always have your game face on

Whether you’re on the job market or applying for further graduate research, remember that every talk is a career talk; that is, every conversation you have should be approached as an interview, and the more succinctly, enthusiastically (without forgetting humbly), and inquisitively you can describe your work, the better the impression you will leave.

For more information on conducting a job search, as well as creating a career roadmap and how to prepare yourself, visit the Career Development Office at 131 E. 10th Street.