Networking: A Key Component in Graduate Student Professional Development
Laura Reid-Marks, 8/16/2012

Networking is an important component in graduate student professional development.  No matter what career path you plan to pursue with your degree, networking is a beneficial and a worthwhile endeavor.  How do you go about networking as a graduate student?  Networking opportunities are plentiful at conferences and through involvement in psychological organizations at the program, state, and national level.  Networking opportunities can also occur unintentionally, for example on an airplane or in an elevator, so as graduate students we should always be ready to network successfully.

To network effectively, graduate students should consider developing a "one-minute commercial."  This commercial is how you as a student are going to "advertise" yourself to others and includes information such as, the degree you are pursuing, career goals, research or practice interests, and anything interesting about you as a future professional.  The goal is to capture the attention of whomever you are attempting to network with in these 60 seconds and to hopefully expand the conversation with the end result being an exchange of contact information.  If contact information is exchanged, you should make a point of emailing your new contact within several days to thank them for a good conversation and potentially ask them any questions you may have after your thought provoking conversation.  Networking can lead to potential professional opportunities down the road and foster professional development in your area of study.  Be brave, make the time, prepare your commercial, and network!