I have a degree in Biology and like thousands of people I am trying to obtain a job/career. I find when I go on interviews or even in my resume, I suck at marketing myself and my accomplishments. And, on top of that my networking skills are a little low. Do any of you have any tips on how to better market yourself and better networking skills/techniques?
This is a very good question and deserves a more thorough answer than you can get here. Marketing yourself is incredibly important and it is hard to find people who are willing to help – so when you do find someone who is willing to show you the ropes for your industry make sure that you do everything you can to do what they recommend and let them know that you appreciate their time.
These are some of the things that I've done that have really helped a lot:
Put in an application at every company that does what you do – especially places that aren't hiring right now. For two reasons: A) If you get an interview at a place that has not posted a need for a position there is a good likelihood that there won't be any competition. B) If you keep a spreadsheet with the contact information of everyone that you interviewed with so that you can keep them in your network and follow up every so often – I have people that are colleagues and friends in my industry that I asked for a job years ago. Set up a profile at Linkedin and add the people with whom you interview.
You might consider going to Toastmasters to practice speaking in front of people – it makes it a lot easier to give a good interview.
Promote yourself on the web, have some sort of a portfolio that you can refer people to that describe your accomplishments. This way you won't have to explain over and over again all of the good things you've done, you can just point them to the URL. – see this post for some good ideas on how to promote yourself on the web: http://www.atlantaclickadvisor.com/2008/10/marketing-social-media/
Find out who the most influential people are in your area of expertise and follow them on Twitter and ask them if you can add them on Linkedin. Once you've found these people there are a lot of things you can do that will help but you always have to be sure to have a huge amount of respect for their time. A) Ask them what they would attribute their success to. B) Ask them what they would do differently early in their career if they could. C) Ask them what books you should read. D) Make sure that you always let them know that you are available to help them and contribute in any way they might need. [Having a general attitude of helpfulness without expectation of reward is really important]
Start writing an article about your area of expertise 300 words every day. When you write a good one send your article to people in your industry and ask them what they think of it. (if you need good ideas on what to write about then write about your thoughts on subjects in the books that the influential people recommended.)
Keep in touch with the people you went to school with and send them a note every now and then to see how their careers are progressing.
Help people who are below you in level of expertise and be willing to give them a hand in getting to where you are.
Last but not least make sure that you know what the local trade groups are, attend their meetings if you can, and subscribe to any publications that they put out. Use an RSS reader to keep up with any new events in your industry so that you're up to date with what everyone is talking about.
Best of Luck and feel free to reach out to me if you need more help.