Build Your Professional Network

Talking to strangers to get advice can sound intimidating, but more often than not, professionals are eager to share their experiences and help a fellow scientist. After all, they were in your shoes once. Not sure how to get started? Follow these ground rules when connecting with a professional:

  • Be specific about your request - I'd like to ask about your transition / I read your LinkedIn and am curious about your experience at a start-up and big pharma (rather than "can we talk").
  • State your connection - UCSF or introduction by a colleague.
  • Be flexible about a time to talk on the phone or meet. Give windows of time or open days.
  • Be brief - the goal is that the reader should be able to read and respond to your request in 2 minutes.


1. Preparing for the informational interview


2. Sample emails and thank you notes for informational interviews


3. Resources for making connections

  • LinkedIn is not a place to collect contacts. Use LinkedIn to build your network by connecting with professionals in career paths or organizations of interest. Tips for contacting someone via LinkedIn.
  • Join a professional society and attend their events to make connections with professionals with common interests and goals


4. Networking at Conferences


5. Networking for Introverts

Did you know that introverts are natural networkers? Introverts possess characteristics such as good listening skills, focusing on others, asking well-formed questions, and following up. Check out the resources below to learn how to apply your strengths as an introvert in a networking setting.

  • Watch Networking for Introverts (Youtube video), an interview with award winning author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain. (Note: Tips start at about 8min 30 sec)
  • Read more about effectively networking as an introvert in Networking for People Who Hate Networking, by Devora Zack


Upcoming Events


Every Month Series: Navigating the Application to Your Career in Industry (Parnassus)

Date: January 22, 2020
Time: 12:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Having a Career Conversation with Your Research Mentor (Mission Bay)

Date: January 24, 2020
Time: 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Networking at a Mixer (Parnassus)

Date: January 28, 2020
Time: 12-1pm