If you’re an academic researcher, you must work on building meaningful relationships, also known as networking. Over time, as you show that you are a trustworthy colleague and can share ideas, skills and expertise, opportunities beyond collaborations can open to you.
Building professional relationships can make the difference between staying professionally stagnant and ascending the career ladder. Expanding your network allows you to find principled and reliable mentors, peers to bounce ideas off and colleagues to write letters of recommendation for your future promotion. Your network can help you to find opportunities, including virtual talks, calls for papers and nominations for awards — all key elements of career advancement.
Members of our respective networks nominated us for awards, courses and promotions. We have paid it forward by doing the same for others. As a junior faculty member, Z.T. earned dual master’s degrees in business administration and health-care leadership. This training, together with the people he met in the process, helped him to boost his management skills and to develop a robust COVID-19-testing programme at his institutions while maintaining a thriving clinical practice. (He is a member of the liver-transplant, bariatric and regional anaesthesiology teams at the New York Presbyterian Hospital.) For nearly 30 years, R.G. has coached, mentored and sponsored students and staff and faculty members in her network for promotions, awards and co-authorship opportunities. She continues to do this in her role as chief learning officer in anesthesiology at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City.