Quick Tip: Share yourself with others
Author(s): Brandy Perkl, Ph.D.Originally posted: November 20, 2014 Updated: December 28, 2020
If you have someone special (a professor at the grad school you’re dying to go to, a past or present mentor, etc.) who you really want to notice your work once you do it, I highly recommend dropping a paper copy in the mail with a little note if possible.
…Connelly and Ghodsee devote the column to describing exactly how you get physical off-prints (NOT pdf files!!) of your published pieces and send them to the most influential people in your field with a brief hand-written note. Something along the lines of, “”I am sending you a copy of my latest article. I found your work really helpful while writing this, and I would appreciate any ideas you might have on how to improve my arguments.” – Dr. Karen Kelsky, The Professor is In (follow the link for the rationale on why this is so important)
It will stand out so much! Basically the premise is that lots of senior researchers stand no chance of stumbling on your work online – so you should just send it to them! No one’s ever been offended by getting a bit of something like that in the mail.
If you created a digital product, you can still drop it in the mail – just use a URL shortener to make a tiny link you can write in the note. (Also be sure to make an account with your URL shortening service choice so you can see if they view it later.)
2020 Update: Honestly, I LOVE when I get emails like this too, it definitely doesn't have to be the much less safe in a pandemic and more difficult to accomplish physical mail. Anytime I get an email from anyone saying 'I read X and it made me think of you so I just wanted to share in case you haven't seen it!' or 'I just did X and I'm so proud of myself, I wouldn't have gotten here without you. Thank you.' it makes my entire week, or month, at least. SEND THOSE EMAILS! It's not bragging, it's mentor keep-in-touching. The Covve app is pretty neat for reminding you to send these kinds of keep in touch messages too to keep contacts 'warm' over time. With professors, one message every 3-6 months is plenty!