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Building Your Professional Network

This guide offers tips and additional resources for building your professional network.

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10 Tips on Building Your Professional Network

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. 

  • You never know where you will be headed in the future, so even if you are interested in academe, get to know people who are in the industry.  There's likely a lot you can learn from each other.
  • There is a trend towards more interdisciplinary research.  Get to know people outside your discipline.
  • Or perhaps you're interested in emerging technologies and would like to know someone with technical expertise.

  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...

  • in-person and/or online
  • with your close network (e.g., colleagues, friends, & family)
  • with your wider network (e.g., whoever is friends with you on Facebook, is following you on Twitter, etc.)

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 set of people 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.

10.  ____________________________________________________________

Possibilities for Networking Online

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!

Other Online Opportunities


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 for instructors, as well.  For more information, see



Also consider participating in professional forums, whether it's an online discussion forum or listserv discussion.

Career Development Center

Consider visiting the Rutgers-Newark Career Development Center for additional tips on networking. 


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