by: Ronit Langer (Ambassador For North America)
Many of you may already know this, but I have been on a LinkedIn campaign to connect with iGEMers in my region. It’s easy. I just type “iGEM” into the search box, filter my location to North America and see who comes up. I reach out to each person who has been on an iGEM team, introduce myself, and ask them to fill out a brief survey about their experience with After iGEM (If you are inspired to fill it out here is the link: https://forms.gle/Zg7J78kY9VrvDyr17). I then follow up with the people who indicated they would be happy to talk about their iGEM experience with me and set up a time to Skype or meet for coffee. Through this method I have connected with over 200 iGEMers on LinkedIn, have almost 30 people fill out my survey, and Skyped or got coffee with 5 people.
I wanted to share with you what I have learned from this experience:
iGEMers go on to do amazing things. I manually checked every profile to ensure that people actually did iGEM, and in doing so, I got to see all the amazing work that people have been up to since the competition. There are grad students, CEOs, Fellowship awardees, law students, teachers, and the list goes on and on. It highlighted just how diverse the After iGEM community is and the impact they are having on the world.
Social media is a powerful tool. All it took was using the search word ‘iGEM’, for me to find hundreds of people who shared the experience of iGEM, and from whom I could be inspired. If I can do it, then recruiters can do it, admissions officers can do it. So be proud of your iGEM experience on your LinkedIn, resume and beyond.
People do not like filling out surveys from strangers. I totally understand this. People were more than happy to accept my connection request on LinkedIn, but they were much less willing to fill out the survey. It’s a combination of not having enough time (but I promise the survey is actually short), and inferring links from strangers to be potentially dangerous (I promise I am not, but this is a good instinct). For everyone who did fill out the survey, thank you so much! Your feedback is invaluable and effects the way I do my job every day.
Nothing beats face to face interactions. The best part of this whole experience was being able to connect with iGEMers over coffee or Skype. I got to hear their stories, learn about their passions for making the world a better place, and understand the role iGEM had in their lives. It was a truly humbling experience to hear what they had to say and I look forward to keeping in touch with those people and connecting with new ones!