Five Practical Tips for a Successful Career in STEM

Be nice!

We’ve all heard about six degrees of separation – the idea that everyone on the planet are six or fewer connections away from one another (i.e. “friend of a friend”).  In the science world, it’s more like three degrees of separation.  The science community is small, so to have a successful and fulfilling career in science it is important to always be kind and collaborative.  Scientists talk with each other, especially when it comes to potentially hiring someone for their research group or company.  Hiring committees are increasingly more cautious when hiring and perform their due diligence by having online background checks and/or speaking directly with references over the phone or by Skype for job candidates.  The proverb, “People may not remember exactly what you did or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel” is very applicable in science.  First impressions matter and you want to make sure you leave a positive impression with everyone you meet during an interview.  Having polite email and phone correspondence with your interviewers before, during, and after an interview is an also important yet commonly overlooked aspect of securing a job in STEM.  Companies want to hire talented people that will strengthen the atmosphere and culture of their workplace and have the potential to grow into a contributing member of their team.  So please – be polite, be punctual, and above all, be nice.

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By Fernando Pires
Fernando Pires Career Advising & Recruitment Coordinator