The details

  • Date: 13 November, 2020
  • Speaker: Dr. Anand Sokhey
  • Title: How to Network Professionally
  • Host: CU Boulder’s Interdisciplinary Training for the Social Sciences (ITSS) program

The notes

What is networking?

  • Everyone has different definitions and ideas of how important networking is. Make sure you solicit advice from a wide variety of sources.
  • Networking needs to be an intentional action. It is not usually productive to show up to an event and hope “networking happens”.
  • The actions of networking will vary depending on the stage of your career, the norms of your field, and the context of the event.

Types of networking


  • Why network at conferences? Conferences allow you to keep up with state of the art, develop a presence within your research community, learn how academia works, and get to know your peers.
  • At conferences, do… attend panels, ask questions, introduce yourself, hand out cards (if appropriate), be social, volunteer to chair an event, present and attend posters, dress well, follow up afterwards.
  • At conferences, don’t… try to do everything, ask aggressive questions, stalk people, push cards on everyone, get wasted at social events, ignore faculty advice, cancel obligations, go over time, get defensive (a possible response is: thanks for taking the time to think about it critically)

Outside of conferences

  • Respond to all communication that comes from real people
  • Treat everyone with respect
  • Send polite emails if you have a question
  • Email people to ask for feedback
  • Reach out to the media relations office to build a reputation as an expert
  • If you like something someone else has done, it’s intimidating to reach out to them. The initial email should be substantive (e.g., I liked your thoughts on X), but not too detailed so it is overwhelming. Then see if they are interested in starting a conversation.

Online presence

  • Dr. Sokhey and many other people are big supporters of using Twitter to market yourself. Personally, I find Twitter to be an overwhelming place and not good for my mental health. If you do want to use this, make sure you keep separate academic and personal accounts.
  • Make a website (like this free one on GitHub!) and put it in your email signature. I still need to make an email signature…
  • Be careful about the information you share online
  • Get an ORCID account. It will make you easily identifiable in case your name, institution, or anything else changes.