Networking is essential to career development. Networking skills can be developed and honed through concerted effort and practice.
Graduate school provides many opportunities to establish far reaching networks. When you attend talks in your department or at conferences, ask questions. Keep track of those that ask good questions and what their questions were. Follow-up with scholars you find working on interesting questions.
Have a plan for whom you would like to meet at conferences. When possible invite people ahead of time to meet up with for coffee during the conference or reach out virtually. Ask your advisors if they can introduce you to colleagues they might know or to contact them ahead of time on your behalf so you can follow-up with them.
Keep a log of all the people you meet and where you met them. Make a note of something to remind you of them and your meeting. If possible follow-up with them referencing your meeting to continue the relationship.
You might want to consider making a list of the top ten people in your field and making a commitment to contact them. Those people are influencers and might be asked to evaluate you or your work one day. Having a professional relationship with them well before their opinions are solicited will benefit you.
Academic Networking Articles
(Beyond the Professoriate, 2022)
(Academic Positions, 2018)
(Chronicle of Higher Ed, 2017)
(Inside Higher Ed, 2020)
(The Thesis Whisperer, 2010)
(Inside Higher Ed, 2019)