Networking is an essential part of your career exploration, transition and development. The essence of networking is creating and maintaining relationships with others in your field of interest that results in providing mutual support and assistance in exchanging useful information, seeking and creating helpful introductions, and is something that takes practice, patience and persistence to pay off. It is a skill that you have to learn if you want to be successful in today's job market and beyond!

Networking can take place in a variety of instances – some are formal events such as attending Career Center events (i.e., networking nights, career fairs, employer information sessions, etc.) and other times it can occur by happenstance, like meeting an old friend for a cup of coffee to ask how she likes law school, to meeting with older alum to learn more about a specific career you are interested in pursuing.  Networking is a two-way street. It must benefit both persons to be most effective, so as you ask your network for help when you are in need, be prepared to return the favor when asked.

Why Should I Network? (aka the value of networking)

Your purpose and motivation to network can be summed up as follows:

  • It is estimated that networking accounts for anywhere between 75 -80% of all annual new hires in the U.S., yet most jobs seekers spend the majority of their time searching online, not networking.
  • Networking lets you gain knowledge, insights, advice, and the daily reality about a field you are considering.
  • Increases your visibility in your field of interest thereby increasing your chances of gaining an interview.
  • Establishes personal connections and relationships that will help you move forward in your career.
  • Networking allows you to be prepared for your next job even if you're happy with your current job in the event of an unforeseen job loss.

What’s the difference between Networking and Social Networking?

Social Networking is a phenomenon that has grown out of the digital age. Sites like Facebook (or BranchOut), Linked In, or Twitter can make it easy to identify and connect with large networks of potential contacts.  However, true networking is not just sending a "friend" or "linked in" request to people you don’t know in the hopes of connecting with professional contacts, but rather connecting with people you do know through a valid connection.

Valid connections are people you already have an established relationship with (family, friends, faculty, coworker, etc.) or someone who may be a member of the same affinity group (i.e., professional association, fellow alumni of your undergraduate or graduate school or even high school), or the friend of a friend to whom you were introduced either personally or professionally.

The Emory Network

Tap into the Emory network to build your own professional network, and learn about career paths, industries and organizations.  Register for the Emory Alumni Association's online alumni directory to connect with alumni who have volunteered as "Career Contacts," and join the Association's LinkedIn group and connect with alumni via other social networks, too.  The Association has chapters of engaged alumni and volunteer leaders worldwide, as well as distinctive interest groups for you to join when you graduate or connect with while in other locations for summer internships or study abroad.  Faculty, fellow students, Emory parents and University friends may also be potential contacts for you to begin to cultivate relationships.  Make sure you are connecting appropriately with alumni and others by consulting with your career adviser and making the most of Career Center resources.