Networking: What, Who, and Where

What is Networking?

The term 'networking' describes a variety of actions taken to establish and develop professional relationships and to exchange information about particular positions, organizations, or industries. Networking can happen in formal settings, such as during our annual Careers for the Common Good event, or in informal settings, such as on an airplane. When it's done well, networking is not schmoozing, asking people to find you a job, or 'using' people exclusively for your own benefit. It's a two-way street, ideally, where both participants are learning new things and connecting for short-term learning and long-term career growth.

Why Networking is Important

Networking is important for several reasons. The most compelling, perhaps, is that many job vacancies are never posted for the general public to see. By connecting with people in your industry, you can learn about these hidden positions and give yourself an advantage over other job seekers.
As you learn about positions or industries, your networking efforts will provide insights beyond what you can find using online resources, salary calculators, or job descriptions. Even after you’ve found an internship or a job, networking will continue to serve you well as you attend conferences, collaborate with others, or seek opportunities for advancement.

Who should be in my Network?

Anyone. Make a list of every person you know (friends, relatives, former co-workers, neighbors, and past acquaintances). It is important to be exhaustive in your brainstorming; you never know what insights, previous experiences, or connections a cousin or professor may have. Think of the following categories to help you get started:

  • Friends and family
  • Faculty and teachers
  • Peers and alumni
  • Former co-workers and supervisors
  • Foundations, associations and conferences
  • Facebook, LinkedIn, listservs
A note about LinkedIn:

LinkedIn is a professional networking site that can help you connect with old friends and new contacts. Groups related to university connections or professional organizations can often generate job leads as well. Additionally, check out the 'Answers' section to pose a question to an industry message board.

Other important resources:
  • Alumni Career Network: Thousands of alumni have volunteered their contact information so that you can contact them to ask questions about their careers. The database is searchable by industry, location, or keyword.
  • Georgetown Alumni Clubs: If you are hoping to work abroad, check out the International Alumni Club Web site to see if an Alumni Club (with events and contacts) exists for the country in which you're interested.

Where to Network

Anywhere. The Career Education Center puts on a variety of events and programs to facilitate networking. Employer information sessions, industry week programming, career fairs, our annual Homecoming event (for juniors and seniors only), and our annual Careers for the Common Good networking event are just a few of the ways we facilitate connections with employers and alumni.
Also, keep in mind that spontaneous, day-to-day networking opportunities are everywhere. You might meet someone on the elliptical at Yates, in your neighborhood or dorm, on the Metro, at a party, at a faith-based event, or in a variety of places. Practice introducing yourself and asking questions so that you'll feel comfortable as you engage a new acquaintance in a conversation about his or her work experiences.