Advice for Students and First-Time Attendees

Must-See Sessions and Events Guide!

Advice for all first-time attendees:

This year's SIOP Annual Conference Season will comprise several weeks of special sessions, add-on events, and networking, finally culminating in an exciting, exhilarating three days of seeing old friends, meeting new people, learning, talking, and digging into the newest I-O research.  And it can be overwhelming for first-time attendees! Check out this TIP article to learn how to manage the conference if it's your first time and read the great advice below! (A list of recommended sessions for first-time attendees will be posted soon.)


Set a goal. Are you attending the conference to learn, connect, or find a job? Let your answer guide your decisions at SIOP.

Make a priority list of 3 things (sessions, symposiums, panels, etc) a day that you would like to attend. If you have energy and interest, then attend more. Tips for choosing sessions:

  • Look for sessions that are relevant to a current project or paper.
  • If you don’t have a set research area, attend sessions that interest you as possible specialties.
  • Review the list (coming soon) highlighting sessions of interest for graduate students.
  • Don't try to do it all! At first glance, each session sounds great, but we recommend that you plan carefully for your attention span and energy levels.

Essential! Prepare to connect. Download the Whova app and sync it to your LinkedIn profile - you can use the app to talk to people who went to the same sessions as you.



Check out the poster sessions - it’ll allow you to speak directly with the researcher(s) and share ideas.

Dress appropriately in professional business attire. Even though this is a virtual conference, appearance still matters.

Decompress. Take time for yourself - the conference can take a lot of energy out of you. 

Don’t forget to eat! Be sure to take breaks and stay fueled.

Screen fatigue is real! Don't forget to look away from your screen regularly and blink. Look out the window for a change of scenery, if you can.

Remain professional in your attitude and composure, whether it’s in a session, an online chat, or a networking reception. Maintain a professional manner at all times - the I-O field is a small one!

Network, network, network!  

  • Meet up with alumni from your program or current students of a program you’re interested in. These connections could help you gain insight or even get a foot in the door.
  • If you go to a session and find someone’s research or experience especially interesting, try to meet them virtually afterwards (if they’re not busy)! Chances are, they’ll appreciate your interest.
  • Attend receptions and social hours coordinated by SIOP or other sponsors that share the same interests as you.

Have fun! It’s your first SIOP experience, so soak it all in while you can, without putting too much pressure on yourself - you’ll likely be back!


After - Within 1 week

Revisit goals. Did you meet the goals you set for yourself prior to the conference? What else might you need to do as follow-up in order to reach all of your goals?

Revisit notes and organize them in a way that helps you reference them for later projects or professional development.

Follow-up with a brief email or LinkedIn connection to everyone with whom you personally connected. Thank them for the opportunity to chat, mention anything memorable you learned from them, and/or provide anything you promised as a follow-up.

Organize and submit receipts, if you get any reimbursements from your organization.

Write a summary of the top 3 things you learned from SIOP 2021 – share it with your advisor, research teams, and whoever else might be interested or benefit from it. Ask them what they learned too!