Networking with the chemistry community is an important step in developing your career as a chemist. It is the process of establishing contacts with peers, professionals, and other people in the business who can assist, guide, and maybe even hire you. Networking opens doors to internships, jobs, and it helps you gather advice about career decisions or courses of study.
There’s no better place to begin networking than right at your own school. If your school already has an ACS Student Chapter, start attending the meetings and get involved.
If you don’t already know them, you’ll meet many of the students also studying chemistry at your school, who can be a great source for selecting interesting chemistry courses or studying for exams.
You’ll also likely be involved with projects that may include taking field trips to local chemical companies or hosting guest lectures from prominent area chemists – both of which could help you establish contacts with professional chemists in your area. If your school doesn’t have one, you can start an ACS Student Chapter!
The process of organizing a chapter for you school will help you start networking with your peers and chemistry faculty. And once you have your chapter up and running, you can use it as a vehicle to facilitate networking for everyone involved.
ACS national meetings are a great place to network because they provide you with the means to meet other students of chemistry, professors at graduate institutions you may want to attend, or chemists conducting research in a field you find interesting.
If possible, get business cards from the professional chemists you meet. Exchange e-mail addresses with your peers or other contact information.
Every ACS national meeting also has an Undergraduate Program that provides undergraduate chemistry students the chance to network with other students, meet recruiters from graduate schools, and meet prominent professional chemists.
In addition to national meetings, regional meetings provide the same opportunities for networking as national meetings, but in a much smaller but equally advantageous arena.
Another way to network with the chemistry community is by attending your local section meetings. Chemists from all professions attend. You may be able to call on them for advice about a particular field of study or line of work.