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LinkedIn: The Unavoidable and Invaluable Platform You Are Using Incorrectly By Lauren Tanabe, PhD, Postdoc, Wayne State University

N dread?

etworking. Why is the word sufficient enough to induce such palpable

As an undergraduate standing at the crossroads of graduate school and medical school, one of the factors I considered was that, in the course of a career at the bench, there would be considerably less interaction with people. It would be just me and my plates of cells and circus of mice. As a shy girl who deflected any attention that came her way, this sounded heavenly to me. My hermit dreams were smashed, swiftly and jarringly, once I got to graduate school. I was yanked into an unrelenting current of lab meetings, departmental seminars, and international conferences. Every time I presented my data, I battled the nagging angst: What if I sounded stupid? What if I 15 was asked something I didn’t know? The “what

ifs” plagued me for days before any presentation, no matter how small. Often at these conferences, there would be networking events at the end of an already long day. I would think, “Really?! Haven’t we engaged enough?” Regrettably, I dodged most of these sessions because I lacked the confidence to believe that anyone would want to con-

nect with me. When I did attend, I’d stand in the corner talking to maybe one or two people – not a great way to expand your network if that’s what you’re looking to do. “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” You’ve been hearing this for years, and guess what? It’s

the absolute truth. More than 70% of people land jobs through networking, according to studies in the Academy of Management Journal. A recent CareerXroads survey showed that only 15% of positions were filled through job boards. Maybe you’ll be one of the 15%, but I know I’m not willing to take those odds. For the introverts among us, these numbers may seem daunting, yet relations with others are one of the most primal and natural ways humans survive and thrive. It’s instinctive to reach out and forge symbiotic connections. We network every day without a second thought. Why, then, do networking sites such as LinkedIn seem foreign and impenetrable to some of us? LinkedIn provides the perfect platform for those looking to reach out and learn from others without appearing too vulnerable. But, there’s a catch: it must be used strategically and with finesse, especially when a 2013 report by Social

Atlanta BEST Magazine Summer 2016 (Issue 6)  

This magazine highlights the activities of the Atlanta Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training (BEST) Program. The BEST program aims t...

Atlanta BEST Magazine Summer 2016 (Issue 6)  

This magazine highlights the activities of the Atlanta Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training (BEST) Program. The BEST program aims t...

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