Original Publication
Open Access

Advancing Your Career: Effective Strategies for Taking the Initiative and Building Professional Networks

Published: September 11, 2013 | 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9528

Included in this publication:

  • Appendix A. Evaluation Form and Data.doc
  • Cases.doc
  • Instructor's Guide.doc
  • Worksheet for Reflection.doc
  • Workshop Agenda.docx

To view all publication components, extract (i.e., unzip) them from the downloaded .zip file.

Editor's Note: This publication predates our implementation of the Educational Summary Report in 2016 and thus displays a different format than newer publications.


Residents, fellows and faculty members play important roles in every aspect of a successful school: educating students, doing research, providing clinical services and engaging in community service. When residents and faculty members are hired there is the expectation that careers will be nurtured. Effective mentoring strategies are often discussed, but what can become lost in the culture of academic medicine is the realization of how important/essential building professional networks over the lifetime of a career can be. Once the importance of building these networks is established, strategies must be developed and implemented to begin and sustain these relationships, i.e., being proactive is essential to career advancement. Residents who do not understand the culture of academia, for example, might miss opportunities for creativity in their education and expansion of career options. Medical school faculty who do not understand the culture of academia and the requirements for promotion might remain mainly involved in clinical responsibilities and/or teaching. They may find it difficult and frustrating to meet the standards necessary for career advancement, and because of lack of career advancement, can become at risk to leave an institution.

Similar to the corporate world where employers generally understand the importance of training in requisite skill enhancement that will lead to success in new positions, medical schools must create professional development activities to provide information/coaching to help participants build strategies and professional networking relationships. These skills are important for professionals to allow them to individualize and optimize successful careers trajectories.

This resource provides a workshop that is appropriate for use with faculty, residents, fellows, and for medical students close to beginning residency training. Activities include self-reflection on participants’ reasons for attending workshop, brief summary of relevant literature, small and large group discussion of case vignettes, and the development of personal “action plans.” The workshop can be presented in 75 to 90 minutes.

This workshop has been presented several times to different audiences in conjunction with national (Association of American Medical Colleges, AAMC) and regional (Northeast Group on Educational Affairs, NEGEA) meetings, and for institutional faculty development (a Women in Medicine program at University of Connecticut School of Medicine.) Although originally designed for faculty, it was successfully implemented into the Student/Resident Track at the NEGEA 2013 Educational Retreat. An evaluation survey has provided feedback that has been positive and informative. Content, organization, active learning/audience participation, enjoyment, and usefulness have consistently received strong ratings. The workshop handout has been revised. (Evaluation data is shown in Appendix A.)

Educational Objectives

  1. State key strategies for developing productive professional networks.
  2. Identify networking opportunities at their own institution and beyond.
  3. Apply networking strategies to advance professional development and career advancement.

Author Information

  • Norma Saks, EdD, EdS, Med: Rutgers, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
  • Susan Pasquale: Johnson & Wales University
  • Suzanne Rose: University of Connecticut School of Medicine

None to report.

None to report.


Saks N, Pasquale S, Rose S. Advancing your career: effective strategies for taking the initiative and building professional networks. MedEdPORTAL. 2013;9:9528. https://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9528