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#111: 9 Networking Mistakes Aspiring Wildlife Professionals Need to Avoid

Networking is super important. As someone who has been in the wildlife field for over 20 years and has attended countless scientific conferences since 2006, I know firsthand how networking can influence your career success. Experience is most important, but at times, who you know can even trump this. Networking can lead to jobs you didn’t know about, or maybe didn’t even exist in addition to other helpful career-building impacts like publication and volunteer opportunities. And if you want to study charismatic species like big cats, marine mammals, or carnivores, you simply have to network.

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But I also know for a lot of us, networking can feel daunting and intimidating, so we avoid it. In fear of making a mistake, we don’t do anything or only limit networking to opportunities where others take the lead – such as our boss or advisor introducing you to their colleagues. But in this era of incredibly high competition for wildlife jobs, this is unfortunately, not enough.

In this episode of the Fancy Scientist podcast, I delve into the networking mistakes often made by aspiring and early career wildlife professionals. I know these because I myself have made many of these and see a lot of the same things happening in my students and members of my Facebook community group Getting a Job in Wildlife Biology. Drawing from my extensive experience, I emphasize how perspective and hindsight has allowed me to now see what I should have been doing, now what others are doing when they reach out to me, and how these actions are perceived from as a mid-level wildlife career professional.

Episode #111 The 9 Biggest Networking Mistakes People Make in Wildlife Careers Featured Image

The discussion also includes real-life success stories from my students, highlighting the transformative power of active engagement, specific intentions, and preparation. I outline nine key mistakes to avoid common pitfalls, such as being too casual or coming off as self-centered, so you can improve your networking skills and boost your career!

Lastly, platforms like LinkedIn can be incredibly powerful, even if you can’t attend in-person events. So, I’ll also underscore the value of online networking. You’ll learn about the importance of proactive follow-up and building genuine relationships, expand your professional network, and open doors to exciting career opportunities.

Episode #111 Image

Specifically, I go over:

  • The importance of networking The 9 biggest and common networking mistakes to avoid
  • How to network intentionally with a purpose
  • Tips for making genuine connections without being self-centered
  • The art of following up and maintaining relationships
  • Navigating networking as an introvert

Remember, in wildlife careers, networking isn’t just a tool—it’s a vital strategy for advancement.

Resources and Sources in 9 Networking Mistakes Aspiring Wildlife Professionals Need to Avoid

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