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Networking can offer the key to science job

Published on Friday, 07 Sep 2012
Rebecca Cheung

Since returning to Hong Kong in 2009 I have become badly stuck looking for a job and, worse, have not even received any invitations for interviews.

I got my first degree in 1991, so my age range can be guessed. After gaining my master's degree in 1995, I obtained a doctoral degree in 1999 from a local university, where my research specialised in electronic engineering, namely computational electromagnetics and time-domain numerical methods.

Afterwards, I lived overseas for nine years and worked in various academic institutions, mainly as a researcher or a visiting fellow. In 2009, I returned to Hong Kong with my spouse. I hold permanent residency in Hong Kong.


I am confident of my language and working abilities. Unfortunately, so far nothing seems to work in this community. schlechtesleben

I feel your frustration! Indeed, you should be proud of your extensive academic and research experience.

Unfortunately, being a veteran scholar with almost exclusive academic experience is a disadvantage when it comes to job applications for commercial opportunities. No matter how confident you are about your abilities, the lack of a demonstrable track record of experience is the main obstacle for employers or agencies to even begin considering your suitability for a role.

When it comes to job-hunting, we need to be absolutely clear about our competitive advantage over other job seekers. It's true that Hong Kong is not an ideal place for leading-edge science research and development. But it is not impossible either, if you stay focused on your goal and have a deliberate job-hunting strategy.

For the type of work you are searching for, effective networking may have the highest chance of landing yourself a job. You should also actively attend relevant science conferences, join professional groups or forums, and volunteer for committee work to get in touch with the right circle of people.

If you are not a naturally outgoing person, networking can be a struggle. But getting back in touch with people in your field could easily start from finding out or sharing the latest research or development.

Rebecca Cheung, managing director Greater China of the cut-e Group, is an expert in assessment and psychometric testing for talent selection, leadership development, succession planning and career guidance


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