Raising your profile as a researcher
Researchers sometimes think that career opportunities will come to them through hard work and brilliance. However, researchers need to pursue and create career opportunities and sell themselves to potential employers like everyone else. Your research only becomes valuable when it is presented at a conference or published through a journal. It is at this point that you start to articulate the implications of your research and to make a contribution to your discipline. A successful career in research is only open to those who are able to communicate effectively. This ability places them at the centre of a research agenda as much at their research capabilities.
‘As a graduate student preparing for a career in research, you have two jobs: (1) do some good research, and (2) build a community around your research topic.’
Phil Agre, Networking on the Network (2005)
So as a researcher you need to learn how to promote yourself and build up a network around your research. The people you present to and discuss your research with will usually be those who work in research areas close to yours, but as you become more confident you may engage with less expert audiences. Engaging with the media, research users and the general public is an important, if challenging, part of your role as a researcher.
The Vitae Researcher Development Framework engagement and impact domain describes how you can increase the wider impact of your research, including:
- public engagement looks at when and how you can take your research to wider audiences.
- networking looks at the informal ways in which to raise your profile.
Find more advice from our expert panel by watching our recorded hangout How to develop your profile in and outside academia.