Cornell University


Over the course of your work life, networking will be the single most effective method of advancing your career. While networking may not “get you a job,” it does play a role in the majority of hiring decisions. Many job vacancies are never advertised, but instead filled through some form of personal or professional referrals. Employers prefer to hire candidates they have met, or those referred by a trusted source.

Among Cornell graduates seeking a first position, personal contact has proven extremely important; for example, close to 20% of job seekers responding to a recent postgraduate activities survey found their jobs through networking.


One of the best ways to expand your career knowledge and interests (industry, company, or specific position) is to learn from someone who is connected to it first-hand. Building your connections will provide you an invaluable opportunity to develop and prepare for your career goals. This is what networking is about.

  • Networking is talking with people who will learn about you and your interests, and then help you gain insight into your career options and goals.
  • It is a two-way process that involves developing and maintaining connections with individuals, and mutually benefitting from the relationship.
  • Networking is an ongoing process that takes time and attention; it is not something you do only when you are looking for a job.
  • Successful networking requires preparation and practice.
  • Networking can be done in-person and online. A valuable tool for online networking is LinkedIn. For more information on networking, building a profile, using LinkedIn's alumni tool, and other topics, click here.

Remember, when you network, you are asking for information and advice—not a job. It’s not just what you know; it’s also whom you know… or can connect to.


In addition to expanding your career interests, effective networking will provide you an opportunity to:

  • Let people know who you are and what you want to do.
  • Collaborate with others on projects of mutual professional interest.
  • Discover job/internship openings not otherwise advertised.


People like to help people, especially if they have common interests (major/career field) or affiliations (family, friends, Cornell). People like to talk about themselves, their career development, and their accomplishments. They also understand that you may be in a position to help them in the future even if you are not now.