Importance of Networking
By Alexander An on October 10th, 2022
Imagine you are a recruiter for an entry-level pharmaceutical industry job. You try to look through the applicants and see there are over 500 applications for one single position. One way you sort through the huge pile is by separating the resumes that came with a referral, as you trust your coworker’s recommendation. Since you trust the referral, you decide to give the candidate an interview to evaluate them further.
From the recruiter's perspective, it can be difficult to narrow down the applicants when they receive hundreds of qualified candidates. Thus, referrals play a huge role in landing an interview or a position. But how can you do that? Networking. A lot of students who think having excellent grades will land them a job in the industry tend to overlook the power of networking. One obvious benefit that networking can lead to is a referral. Additionally, by connecting with current employees you can learn not only about the role in great detail but also the culture and values of the company.
This past year I spent countless hours trying to learn about different opportunities for a pharmacy student in industries such as consulting, biotech, venture capital, big pharma, and more. I realized it can be awkward and intimidating when trying to network, especially as a student. Through my experience, I developed a method for networking that readers can follow and replicate. Before I even reach out to people, I would work on what to say in my one-minute introduction about myself. This is important because having a solid introduction will set a good impression and a good vibe for the rest of the conversations.
After having a great elevator pitch, the next step is reaching out to people. Conferences, companies tabling at the school, and local biotech networking events are perfect ways to meet people in the industry. This is a great chance to interact with people and form relationships naturally. Another effective method is cold messaging people on LinkedIn and you can do it by first messaging alumni from your school and people who share the same degree as you. Finding something you have in common will make it easier for you to cold message them on LinkedIn. The message should include a bit about you, something you guys have in common, why you want to chat with them, and around when you want to meet them. Not everyone will respond to you so it is important not to give up and keep messaging people on LinkedIn.
Once you get rolling, you will be scheduling a lot of coffee chats with people on LinkedIn. So it is vital to keep a calendar of all the coffee chats so you don’t accidentally schedule two at the same time. At the end of the coffee chat, be sure to ask the person if they can connect you with people in their network to talk to. This will expand your network of people to potentially connect with. Another important tip is to create an excel sheet of everyone you talk to and include information such as contact and keynotes from conversations. Lastly, just make sure to thank them for their time and keep in touch with them.