Networking 101 for Graduate Students: Building a Bigger Table
By Seo-Young Silvia Kim, American University, Hannah Lebovits, University of Texas–Arlington, and Sarah Shugars, New York University
Although the importance of networking often is emphasized to graduate students, straightforward guidance on how to approach this task is typically reliant on individual advisors who both know and can demystify the discipline’s hidden and informal practices. This article provides concrete, point-by-point tips for both junior scholars and their supporters, building on our experiences in creating an online communication forum for early-career scholars on the job market. Specifically, we suggest a model of community networking focused on robust, cross-rank engagement along dimensions of similar experiences and similar interests. Community networking moves beyond individuals angling to obtain a seat at the table and instead builds a bigger, more inclusive table. Although junior scholars must focus primarily on their research rather than expansive service commitments, community networking is ultimately both a service to the discipline and a fruitful strategy for raising a scholar’s profile and finding coauthors, colleagues, friends, and allies.