Who’s that knocking at my door?

or: How I learned to stop worrying
and love LinkedIn endorsements

For scientists looking to break out of academia, nothing is more mysterious than the concept of networking. Wanting to share some insights with my readers, I called up a friend who recently started an MBA program, now immersed in the culture of business. We agreed networking is a critical career skill for scientists, and he mentioned that LinkedIn is especially important in the business community. That’s great, I said – that’s one of the topics I want to write about. Then I gave him my detailed explanation of how people are using LinkedIn endorsements all wrong. Then he started laughing. At me.
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Communication: the most important thing you learned to do badly

Most students would be surprised that the term “academic” can have a negative tone in industry. But it’s true – and one place it often gets used is in describing research presentations. For people trained in academia who want to apply their skills to industry, finding a good way to describe their academic experience can be hard. I’m not talking about slide layout or presentation style – I’m talking about the message. The general rule in communication, accepted everywhere outside research institutions, is KISS, for “keep it simple, stupid.” That’s harder than it sounds when you’re surrounded by people who have made their careers by studying complex fields in great detail. One consequence is that you get credibility by describing your work in all its complexity, it great detail. Continue reading