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Cold Calling Your Way to Success in Global Health: Networking Tips and Tales

Cold Calling Your Way to Success in Global Health: Networking Tips and Tales
August 24, 2023

Gaining a foothold in the global health space can be difficult, particularly when you’re starting out. Making connections is a very important component of a successful career, regardless of your discipline. There are many ways to make connections. Some ways include through school programs, conferences, friends, and family.

One method that may seem uncomfortable at first is cold calling. Cold calling is when you contact someone (in this case, in your field) who you have not previously met to inquire about job opportunities, advice, and opportunities. Despite the initial awkwardness of reaching out to someone directly who you don’t have any connection to, it’s an excellent way to grow your network and explore new opportunities. In many cases, it is these ‘leaps of faith’ that help land you your next job or arm you with advice and experience.

A good place to look for people in jobs and organizations you are interested in is LinkedIn. The websites of many organizations, such as the World Health Organization, Médecins Sans Frontières, and Canadian Association in Global Health, contain directories where you can locate individuals in your field of interest.

I have personally benefited from this networking approach. Scanning LinkedIn, I came across an Epidemiologist working with Epicentre (the research division of Medicine Sans Frontières), who had worked with large international organizations for the past 15 years. Acknowledging that I may not receive a response, I penned a brief message and connection request, introducing myself and asking for the chance to meet and discuss their experience, the advice they would give someone in my position, and any opportunities they may know of. The result couldn’t have been better. We’ve remained in regular contact, and they have gone as far as referring me to other members of their network for future opportunities.

In summary, expanding your network through cold calling is an excellent way to gain a foothold in the global health space. Pushing through the initial hesitation and uncomfortableness can yield great results.

Written by Matt Jalink, CAGH SYPN Educational and Professional Development Co-lead, Epidemiologist, and PhD Candidate.