Institutional Networking Strategies for Professional Advancement: Think Outside the Box

May 08, 2015

By Shawna Szabo and Ellen H. Badger

Networking within your own institution or organization can be essential to your career advancement path. When you reach out to colleagues in different offices you have the opportunity to collaborate on new programs and initiatives, discover new areas of interest, learn more about office procedures and cultures, and create new relationships with people who have the potential to become mentors.

Here are three strategies to employ when networking:

  • Think about networking with an office that can not only assist in your own career advancement but also further your institution or organization’s goals. A common goal today is to "internationalize." 
  • For most NAFSAns, "internationalization" is part of their daily work. You can use your expertise to collaborate with other offices on new initiatives.
  • Volunteer! Throw your hat in the ring to serve on hiring committees, focus groups, staff or faculty senates, planning committees, etc.

Ask yourself, "What are the gaps in my institutional knowledge?" Would you like to know more about budgets, assessment procedures for measuring program quality, international student and scholar support provided by administrative offices, or best practices for training support staff? Pick up the phone and ask if someone in that office is available to give you a rundown. 

Networking involves putting yourself out there so choose a strategy that works best for you, and be sure that your supervisor is aware of what you're doing. Cultivate a new relationship within your institution or organization today!

Interested in learning more? Join us on Wednesday, May 27 from 11:00 a.m.–11:45 a.m. for our presentation, "Strategies for Your Career Advancement and Professional Development as an International Educator," in the Career Center located in the Expo Hall.


Ellen BadgerEllen Badger retired from Binghamton University, State University of New York (SUNY) in 2013, after thirty-nine years of service, including twenty-seven years as Director of International Student and Scholar Services. Ellen is the 2013 recipient of NAFSA’s Life Membership Award, the 2012 recipient of NAFSA’s Marita Houlihan Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Field of International Education, as well as the NAFSA Region X 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award. She is currently Coordinator-elect of the Phase II MIG (retirement MIG). Ellen has presented at numerous NAFSA annual and regional conferences, as well as for other professional associations. Immigrant Rights is one of her passions, and she has co-authored articles and presented on the topic of undocumented students since 2000.

Shawna SzaboShawna Szabo is an International Student Advisor in the International Student Services office at Rochester Institute of Technology. She has worked in the field of international student and scholar advising since 2008. Shawna has her Bachelors in Latin American Studies from SUNY Plattsburgh and Masters of International Development from University of Pittsburgh.


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