How much do connections help?

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How much do connections help?

Post by Physics_Is_Phun » Sun Nov 24, 2019 1:00 am

How much do connections help your application? Obviously, this factor is out of anyone's control, but I'm curious if anyone has a sense of how much it affects the process. By connections I mean, for example, what if you're applying to work for someone a former research mentor has worked with?

I was searching through old posts and haven't found anything about this particular topic. Sorry if this is a duplicate.

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Re: How much do connections help?

Post by Nishikata » Sun Nov 24, 2019 4:02 am

In my case, it helped.

I was looking for a PI and emailed several professors.
I first received rejections, citing their groups were full.
Then on my n-th PI that I contacted, I explicitly mentioned about past work with another prof in their institution, despite from different department. The PI replied and noted that he knew the prof well and gave me a positive reply.

Be aware that connections may be useful if it is a good connection.
If the person you know happen to be “enemies” with your POI, then your chances get slimmer than bigger.

If person you know happen to have bad reputation (by merit or by ethic), your profile also gets stamped with this connection’s image.

By the way, a research mentor (if he was a postdoc and now a faculty) can write a recommendation letter. That’s the platform to channel you in. However your mentor must have good reputation, or it is meaningless.

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