Who you know is as important as what you know. A strong network of contacts is critical in any stage of your career. While it can be intimidating when you feel like you’re starting from scratch, we’ll help you develop a great network!

Networking 101

Start building your network with 4 steps

1. Who do you know?

  • Brainstorm everyone who could possibly serve as a contact.
  • Don’t limit yourself to people who are in your career field. Friendly, accessible people in unrelated fields often have contacts they would be happy to share.
  • To get started here are some suggestions: family friends, relatives, neighbors, professors, advisors, classmates, alumni, former co-workers and supervisors, and members of professional organizations.

2. Prepare yourself - online and in-person

  • Approach all networking opportunities with a game plan. Before you meet with a contact or attend a networking event, prepare and do your homework.
  • Having a professional web presence is as simple as having a LinkedIn page, but you should also understand what other information might be on the web about you already. Check out our guide to professional social networking and online identity.
  • Get business cards. Sites like Vistaprint and Moo have inexpensive options for pre-designed cards. Make sure your cards include contact information for any relevant social networks you’re using in your job search.
  • Ask yourself what you’d like to know more about, and develop an “elevator speech” - a short (30-60 seconds) pitch that summarizes who you are and what you’re looking for.


CEHD brings more than
50 different employers
to campus each year
who want to hire CEHD graduates.

3. Get connected

  • Start contacting the people on your list from Step 1. Tell them about your career plans and ask for advice and referrals.
  • When you meet with someone for a networking connection or informational interview, respect their time by being prepared. Have a list of questions you’d like to ask, and always follow-up with a thank you email or note.
  • Attend events and be visible. Many professional organizations have open events for non-members, or discounted student membership rates. Also, sites like Meetup or Eventbrite have listings for local gatherings of all kinds of professionals.
  • Conduct informational interviews with professionals.
  • Use online social networks like LinkedInand the Maroon and Gold Network.
  • Have conversations everywhere you go. Everyone is a potential contact.

4. Keep in touch

  • In addition to your follow-up thank you notes or emails, keep in regular contact with your network.
  • Be in touch with them 2-3 times a year to stay fresh in their minds, and to keep them updated on your job search.