Scientific Seminars and Your Career

You know seminars are important, but honestly when is the last time you went?  We know the excuses on why attendance is not a priority.  There are only so many hours to get so many experiments done, and the seminar room is all the way of the other side of campus (and it is raining/sunny/cold/hot), there are no free cookies, it is not a topic you are interested in, etc.

Here are some reasons on why attending seminars is key to your career success, both for now and in the future:

  1. Solving scientific puzzles- you never know when a seminar may lead to an Aha! Moment to solve your challenges
  2. New techniques and procedures- technologies are being developed at a rapid pace.  No one can keep up with them all simply by reading the literature 
  3. Collaborations- could you and the speaker have a common goal that would benefit from a scientific exchange?
  4. Network- make contacts and build relationships, both within the institution and with the speaker.  This helps you to build your networking map (which we will blog about in early March)
  5. Exposure- many faculty attend seminars regularly, this gives you a chance to be seen by them and to engage in intellectual conversations.  This could be a bonus when you need another letter of recommendation, science advice, and more.
  6. Communication- you can improve your communication skills by asking questions and participating in the discussion

Regardless of your career aspirations, you need to be successful doing what you are doing now.  So make seminar attendance a priority.  Who knows where this one hour a week can lead you, both scientifically and career-wise. 

In fact, we will make it a priority too.  See one of the OITE staff at WALS the next two weeks (February 22, 2012 or THURSDAY March 1, 2012).  We would love to have you say “hello” and let us know you are reading the blog.

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