Uncommonplace Book, Liz Covart writes about an interview she conducted with Jennifer Polk, founder of the blog From Ph.D to Life. Polk's blog helps people with Ph.Ds transition to work in the non-academic (or real) world. Networking, she argues, is a vital part of that transition.
After conversing with Polk, Covart concludes that historians have the skills to become good networkers. Here is a taste:
My conversation with Jen also helped me to realize that historians
are well positioned to network; we possess all of the skills needed to
reach out and connect with other people. Historians know how to research
and we like to interact with people. Okay, so most of the people we
interact with are long since dead, but we seek them out anyway in the
papers and works they left behind. We seek them out because we want them
to help us answer questions
we have about the topics, periods, people, thoughts, and cultures we
study. We receive their help when we read, interrogate, and
contextualize the papers and possessions they left behind. This
one-sided engagement allows us to better understand and connect with our
historical people. Networking with the living is not so dissimilar.
The best interactions take place when you find another person who
shares something in common with you. Jen conducts research before she
initiates contact. When she reaches out to someone she leads with what
they share in common: an alma mater, an advanced degree, interests, an
experience. After establishing this common ground, Jen asks for help.
Historians study people and know that most people will respond favorably
to requests for assistance when they feel connected to them. Moreover,
historians are capable of making the most out of each networking
opportunity because we know how to ask questions of our sources.
Read the entire post here.