Monday, May 7, 2012

Getting press for volunteering

Without a doubt, the best thing I have done as a job hunter was to volunteer with my local science center.  It's provided me with many more opportunities then I could have imagined, because I ended up working with a phenomenal team- motivated, bright, well connected, clear vision- who for some reason, really needed what I had to offer at the moment that I walked into their office.  As a result, a lot of fantastic work was done (sure, I contributed some, but it wasn't going to be lame without me), and they are very willing to give me credit and props for adding my unique perspective.  The nature of their work also requires a little more... contact with media outlets and others in the field.  A couple weeks ago, I gave an interview to someone writing a book about informal education.  I gave a quote to someone writing an article about the work that led to the funtastic trip to NySci. 

It's all been a lot of fun, no doubt, but I think it is really helpful to get plugged into to professionals who are willing to promote me for what I have to offer professionally.  I know many scientists feel uncomfortable with self-promotion, either that it feels inappropriate or just difficult to get the chutzpah to do.  One way around this is to work with people who will do it on your behalf.  And, one way to encourage folks to do this for you, is to do it for them as well.  You can give recommendations on LinkedIn, or just talk up your collaborators who have great ideas AND stick to their deadlines.  Perhaps I'll have more ideas on this later, but sharing positive experiences is a really helpful way to add some content to your networking. 

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