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In today’s job market, it is likely that networking can help you land a job.

Networking takes of bit of getting to know others as well as being known (favorably!) by others. And when it comes to e-networks e.g., LinkedIn, it is also about how MANY people you know. The secret to networking: Relationships are built over time, through trust, respect, and reciprocity.

When should you start networking?  

Think about this: You are already networking NOW within established personal-social, academic, and professional realms.

How can you expand your professional network?  

You already have entree into a number of networks and networking opportunities, including:

  • Faculty members
  • Student groups
  • Campus committees
  • Social events
  • Regional & national conferences
  • Professional organizations
  • Informational interviews
  • Job shadowing
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  • Summer research
  • Internships and externships
  • Social media networks & contacts
  • Career Fairs
  • Alumni and Alumnae and alumnae events
  • Workshops
  • Community Service

Some suggestions:

  • If you do not have a business card – get one quick. Your department may have resources for you to get one; there are also free and low-cost companies that provide generic cards.
  • Perfect a short elevator pitch.
  • Ask your mentor about connecting with others at professional meetings.
  • Maximize your conference travel by setting goals and planning ahead.
  • Practice conversation starters – get others to talk!
  • Learn social hour etiquette.
  • Be a good listener and remain attentive to the speaker.
  • Join LinkedIn. Join relevant groups. Make connections around the world.


How LinkedIn™ Relates to Networking & Job Searching

Did you know that between 94-97% of human resource managers report they scrutinize social media profiles BEFORE they consider you for an interview?

What this should tell you is that you must have a professional social media image.

LinkedIn™ is most often cited as the e-network recruiters use to find prospective employees. They search on relevant keywords and by current industry and job titles. However the also following connections in disciplinary areas and browse for alumni and alumnae of specific universities.

But here is the key: LinkedIn™ uses proprietary algorithms for to rank search results by relevancy. They do not disclose much, but here is what we do know:

  • Complete profiles rank the highest in search results. Ensure your LinkedIn profile is complete.
  • Strategically add keywords that highlight your high-demand professional skills to your headline, summary, experience, and job titles.
  • Numbers count. Keep adding professional connections; 1st degree connections with complete profiles will boost your ranking.
  • Strategically join professional groups – they add relevant keywords to boost your ranking.

Learn How: Take these steps to improve your LinkedIn Profile (PPT slides.) The LinkedIn slide narrative is available in an accessible format here

Building your LinkedIn™ Network  

  • Hyperlink your LinkedIn™ profile to email signature
  • Join relevant groups within & across disciplines
  • Send LinkedIn™  invites after conferences
  • Connect to others whose work you follow – e.g., cited in your lit review or previous studies
  • Use search function to find others in your discipline
  • Post pertinent, thoughtful ideas to KEY professional groups & invite others to comment

Graduate Student Networks

Graduate Student Association

GSA is a campus-wide organization that represents the interests and needs of graduate students to the faculty, supporting graduate students through funding (travel grants), special projects and social events. Graduate degree programs have designated representatives to GSA. Facebook

Graduate Professional Council

GPC is recognized as the official democratic government for graduate, professional, and post-baccalaureate students, and postdoctoral scholars at MU. GPC designs programs provides resources and serves academic, professional, and social needs of students. Facebook

Association of Black Graduate and Professional Students

ABGPS seeks to assist in monitoring the academic progress of Black graduate and professional students, as well as supply them with information to promote a more positive experience at MU. Facebook

Alternative Career Exploration in the Sciences 

ACES focuses on providing career seminars and networking events for graduate students and postdocs in the life sciences.Facebook LinkedIn

Latino/a/x Graduate & Professional Network 

LGPN enhances the intellectual and social community for Latinx graduate students at Mizzou. Facebook

Mi-STEM (Minorities in STEM)

Mi-STEM is a social and professional networking organization geared toward graduate students in the STEM disciplines. Facebook

International Students

The MU International Center provides a list of 30+ student and cultural groups of interest to international students. List

Griffiths Leadership Society for Women

Griffiths is a catalyst for global connections among MU collegian leaders and alumnae. The organization is devoted to lifelong learning, leadership development, mentoring and supporting the best interests and traditions of Missouri’s flagship University. Facebook

National Networks

National Association of Graduate-Professional Students

The NAGPS is a networking organization for students and their organizations. The Web site contains resources and links. NAGPS also serves as an advocate at the local and national levels. Site  Facebook LinkedIn

National Black Graduate Student Association

The NBGSA is the nation’s largest interdisciplinary graduate organization for students of African descent. The association was established to address the needs and concerns of black graduate and professional students, and to encourage black undergraduates to pursue advanced degrees. Facebook

Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science

SACNAS is a society of scientists dedicated to fostering the success of  Chicano/Hispanic and Native American scientists—from college students to professionals—to attain advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership in science. Site

Postdoctoral Networks

MU Postdoctoral Association (MUPA)

Postdocs from across campus meet regularly for professional development, peer support and discussions of local/state/national issues. Learn more on the MUPA site and follow them on Facebook.

Note: Information for current and prospective postdocs, as well as postdoc policies, can now be found on the Office of Postdoctoral Education site.

National Postdoctoral Association (NPA)

NPA provides a national united voice and advocates for positive work environments for postdoctoral fellows, researchers, instructors, and scholars. 

The MU Graduate School has paid for institutional membership with the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA).  This means all of Mizzou’s postdocs are entitled to free affiliate (individual-level) membership to NPA. In doing this, we join a long list of other prestigious universities who are also members of NPA. Here’s a list of their individual member benefits:

  • Subscription to NPA e-alerts, a periodic news announcement, and The POSTDOCket, the NPA’s official quarterly newsletter
  • Reduced registration fees to the NPA Annual Meeting & eligibility for the NPA travel award program
  • Access to members-only NPA Web content
  • Access to NPA Member Groups to connect & network with fellow NPA members
  • Discounts to services and products.
  • Opportunities to serve and contribute your expertise on a variety of NPA committees
  • Voting rights in all NPA elections and on NPA ballot issues
  • National representation on postdoctoral issues

To obtain your free membership, contact the Office of Postdoctoral Education.

NOTE:  This is a specific link for MU postdocs. Do not attempt to use their general website or you’ll be asked to pay!

NPA membership is also open to faculty and administrators. For more information, contact .