Knowing the right people can be invaluable in starting and advancing your career no matter your field of study. The process of meeting people in your field and using your professional contacts to advance your career is often referred to as networking.
Networking can bring tremendous personal and professional benefits. Through networking you can for example, learn about career related opportunities that you might otherwise never hear about, move to the top of the list of candidates in a job or fellowship search, establish new and useful collaborative research relationships, and meet some really exciting and very nice people who just happen to share some of the same interests that you do.
For some individuals networking provokes negative images of saying and doing things that one wouldn't ordinarily do. Nothing could be further from the truth if you are genuine in your approach to networking. In this section we'll discuss some simple techniques you can use to begin to build and use your own professional network.