Consider visiting the Rutgers-Newark Career Development Center for additional tips on networking. Note that there is an Alumni Mentors Network embedded within RaiderNet.
1. Meet new people and cast a wide net. You want a large, diverse network filled with people who have different strengths.
a) Attend events where you can be sure you'll meet people in your field of study (e.g., conferences).
b) Get to know people in related fields and in fields that may not seem especially relevant.
c) Be sure to attend social events, too - whether at conferences, on-campus, or in your personal life.
2. When meeting new people, you'll likely be asked the question, "What do you do?" Prepare responses for various scenarios (e.g., a 15 second summation for the lay person, perhaps a 30 second explanation for someone who might be familiar with your research area).
3. People will Google you. When they do so, what will they see? Google yourself on a regular basis to find out.
4. Keep your online profiles up-to-date and professional. Be sure to include a professional-looking photo of yourself.
5. Keep your resume and curriculum vitae (CV) up-to-date.
6. Share your accomplishments...
7. When possible, find an opportunity to speak about your work - or another area of expertise. This will help you get noticed by potential collaborators.
8. When possible, share your work freely (e.g., post it online). This will increase the likelihood you and your work will gain notice. Perhaps your work will even receive the honor of a citation, thus resulting in yet another population knowing about you. [~6 degrees of separation]
9. Help the people in your network. Let them know of opportunities that may benefit them. Help them make useful connections through introductions you make. Hopefully, they will return the favor.
In addition to in-person networking, you may want to consider networking online. Depending on your field of study, online networking may be just as important as in-person networking. Below are a list of various sites used for online networking. Some are geared more for professional networking, others are more social. Be sure that if you are using them for professional networking, your online interactions are just as professional as your in-person ones are. People in different fields may gravitate towards different networking sites. Find out where the online conversations are happening for the people in your field and join them. Build your professional network online!
Consider writing a blog. You can see if it's possible to join a group's blog or start your own. A couple of free blogging sites are:
Rutgers seems to offer a WordPress-based blog service, as well. For more information, see http://blogs.rutgers.edu/
Also consider participating in professional forums, whether it's an online discussion forum or listserv discussion.