It can be intimidating for graduate students to network with professional toxicologists. Sending that first email can be nerve-wracking. Our series is from a graduate student’s perspective and will try to make this process less intimidating by boiling-down networking into a few simple steps.
Part 1: Searching for Connections
Our first blog in the series Steps to Networking through SOT will cover how to identify potential professional contacts. There are multiple resources provided by SOT that will help you in this step of the process.
ToXchange: This is the main hub of SOT communication among members, Specialty Sections, Special Interest Groups, and Regional Chapters. One key resource is the “Membership Directory” in which SOT members can search by company and/or region to help identify preferential contacts. If you want to get an idea of which companies have offices in a certain region of the US, you can browse the Regional Chapter membership directory that pertains to that geographical region to see which companies employ members within that area. ToXchange contains the provided information of all SOT members making it easy not only to identify professional contacts but also to reach out to them.
Mentor Match: This is a specialized database of SOT professional members who are willing to provide some form of mentoring as well as an integrated pathway for student participants to identify these mentors. This resource can be found on the main SOT website under the “Career” header. From there, students can select mentee access and create a profile. Once the profile is finalized, students gain access to the “Search Database” where they can narrow down potential mentors by sector, fields of study, gender, region, etc. After identifying the member you wish to contact, it is best to email them through their email address found on ToXchange.
SOT Annual Meeting Program: It is the full summary of all activities at the SOT Annual Meeting and is provided as a PDF on the website. This is another way to identify professionals attending the meeting, particularly people who are presenting symposia, workshops, or posters. The Program (and the SOT Mobile Event App) is a great resource to find presenters with similar research interests. Details about the March 2019 meeting will be available via the SOT website.
It is never too early to begin utilizing these resources! Establishing meaningful relationships takes time and may require more than one message. There are a lot of people with interesting career stories to discover.
Our next blog post will be “First Contact,” how to reach out and initiate communication with your prospective professional contact.