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11th PhD students’ forum - University of Angers

11th PhD students’ forum

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PhD students in pursuit of their digital identity

Affiche du forum des doctorants

What is the point for PhD students to handle their e-reputation (on the Internet)? Does a professional visibility on the web represent an efficient way to help PhD students entering the workforce? Questions around the thesis students’ place on the social networks and professional blogs were at the heart of the 11th PhD students’ forum that took place on June, 6, at the Faculty of Law, Economics and Management.

The participants of the two round-table conferences dedicated to professional social networks (such as Viadeo, LinkedIn) and to the “PhD student blogger” outlined the advantages of a presence on the web, and tried to dispel the reluctance expressed by some PhD students.

Flashback on some answers given by recruiters, blogger scientists, social networks specialists, etc. in order to help PhD students building efficiently their digital identity.

Digital presence strategy

Even though only 3% of the recruitments occur thanks to the social networks, this doesn’t stop the majority of the recruiters from “Googling” (type down a name in a search engine on the Internet) the candidates, Ivan Orgebin, the Figaro Classifieds jobs posts website manager, explained. This shows the importance for PhD students to “fill the space” so that the recruiter doesn’t hit upon unprofessional pages such as a Facebook profile.


Blogs, interesting for PhD students and the scientific community

Just few PhD students take the step of feeding a professional blog. “A lot of them are reluctant due to legitimacy towards their laboratory, their thesis supervisor, their colleagues”, Olivier Ertzscheid, Professor-Researcher in Information Sciences at the University of Nantes and blogger, explains.

At least 10 good reasons for a PhD student to open a professional blog have stood out of the comments held by the participants:
  • To widen one’s places of research and activity : the blog becomes a real scientific “lab bench” where thoughts are built.
  • To work on one’s art of synthesis by writing short notes accessible to everybody (researchers and beginners)
  • To develop an alternative mean of communication : the blog can be approached as an intermediary step between research and publication in academic papers.
  • To be watchful : to run a blog, the researchers have to keep up to date on what is said in their field, in particular on the Internet. The “blogging” activity becomes indirectly a way to feed one’s mind.
  • To share, to exchange with one’s peers and the general public : by reporting an event, by reacting to it, by proposing an analysis.
  • To develop a network : some blogs are fed by several PhD students, allowing them to keep in touch. The blog can turn out to be a way to get away from the thesis student’s isolation.
  • To create a job opportunity : by blogging, PhD students can gain a certain notoriety in a scientific area and make a name for themselves. A blog is a way to differentiate oneself, compared to all the ordinary résumés usually provided.
  • To contribute to the public debate : a blog, through its popularization purpose, makes academic research come out of the shadows. It also permits to spread an alternative speech to the one of the so-called researchers of reference because of their high media coverage.
  • To test some reflections through practitioners’ opinion in order to know how are seen one’s ideas from an outsider’s point of view and how sustainable they are.
  • To liven up the laboratory’s life by raising debates between colleagues. Some PhD students are hiding the fact that they hold a blog whereas it is a good scientific emulation way within a team. Many US leading laboratories hold their own blog.

Thérèse Rosset and Adeline Chailleux