Many scientists believe the only way to advance in their career and become well known is by performing high-quality research and publishing in high-impact journals. While they’re not wrong, being rewarded just for the number and impact of published articles may not tell the full story of someone’s potential for contributing to the scientific community. But what else can you do to boost your career? Two words: promote yourself.
If you’re not sure where to begin when it comes to standing out in the crowd, here are four tips that can help you.
Using social media is one of the best ways to promote yourself, especially since the scientific community is very active online. It’s a very simple and effective way to share your research, exchange knowledge, and raise awareness among researchers all over the world. For example, you can use social media to build research collaborations, help raise funds for your projects, or reach out to presenters during conferences with your questions. Some of the most popular social media platforms that scientists use include LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, ResearchGate, Academia.edu, SlideShare, Figshare and Kudos. Find the platform that best fits your needs and start posting!
Giving presentations at conferences or meetings is another great way to promote yourself and your work. At many major conferences, you can apply to contribute talks about your research. The more talks you give, the greater your exposure. But, conferences aren’t the only place where you can speak publicly. Look for opportunities from companies, universities, or even other research groups where you can offer to give a presentation about your research. Even simply asking questions or commenting during Q&A sessions after presentations is another easy way to speak publicly and be recognized by your colleagues. So remember, you’re not doing yourself any favors by keeping quiet.
Networking is another key component of a successful career. This applies to everyone but is especially important for early career scientists. Conferences are one of the best places to find new connections and practice your communication skills. You can start small — introduce yourself and talk to researchers whose work you admire — and then in no time you’ll gain the confidence to work the room. Just don’t forget to have fun because sometimes a good informal chat over a coffee can lead to great ideas and opportunities.
Lastly, contributing to blogs or magazines and expressing your opinion on scientific topics is a great way to get your name out there. Giving interviews, putting a piece together with other colleagues, or writing an opinion article are all ways you can contribute to a publication. It can even be a good way to have fun and informally talk and write about science.
So start getting on social media, speaking publicly, networking, collaborating, and contributing to publications. You’ll be amazed at the opportunities that will come your way.