Networking is the act of building relationships. It’s making connections and sharing
information for both personal and professional gain. Professional networking used
to be largely accomplished through face-to-face interactions. Now, however, it can
be accomplished through multiple channels, including online sites like
The opportunity to network can occur anytime and anywhere – in the classroom, at
a family event, in the grocery store or at a career-focused event. Anytime you’re
establishing a relationship, you’re building your network.
Think about the network you already have in place (yes - everyone has one, whether
they know it or not!). Consider your friends, relatives, friends of friends, classmates,
professors, employers or acquaintances.
Next, identify places where you can make new relationships. Look into professional
organizations, student groups, and alumni
contacts. You may even want to consider looking for contacts that don’t
necessarily have the same career path as you - having a diverse network has its
In many cases, your opportunity to meet someone else depends solely on your willingness
to reach out to them. Although people may not have jobs to offer, they will have
advice to share, stories about their career paths, and possibly recommendations
for contacting others.
When reaching out to people in your network, be sure to:
Alumni Sharing Knowledge Program (ASK)
offers tips on effective email introductions in
Subject: Help! Introducing Yourself Through Email and Conversation Starters.
Networking events provide a great opportunity to make connections, gain information
and grow your network. When attending an event:
Following up with your contacts is an important step in developing and maintaining
your professional network. After meeting a contact, send a quick email thanking
them for his/her time. Sending thank you notes is more than a professional courtesy;
it’s a wise business practice. Failure to do so can have a negative impact on your
professional image and, subsequently, your relationship with your network.
Networking Conversation Starters
Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK)
Workshop: Network & Job Search Successfully with
Career Center Social and Professional Media