Develop your Professional Network

We’ve all heard that when it comes to career success, networking is key.  Apart from getting insider information on careers and companies, information shared through networking contacts is how most people hear about opportunities that help them get their start in a new field. The fact is, employers prefer to recruit informally from candidates whose skills and personal qualities are known to them. Also consider that 80% of positions are filled without ever making it to a job ad. Given these realities, networking skills are essential for your job search. 

This section includes:

  • How to develop your in-person and online networking skills
  • How to build your online presence
  • Links on how to start networking


Networking


Your Online Presence

Associations for Grad Students

Graduate student associations are a great place to start networking while you are still a student. The contacts you make can evolve into important sources of support and information for your career development. Networking is based on reciprocity. Others will also be interested in your work and in bringing you into their professional networks.


Networking in Industry

Finding networking opportunities within industry requires researching people, groups and events that you can engage with, relevant to your career interest area. First, start with who you know; they may know and be able to connect you with others for networking. Many tools and techniques for researching and finding contacts and venues for networking are outlined in previous sections of the Grad Pages.

  • Business and trade directories, and professional associations
  • Information interviewing is a useful technique to start networking.
  • Continuing education events, conferences and trade shows can also provide access to people in your area of interest, industry information and professional development. Consider volunteering at events if access is limited to insiders. If student memberships are available, consider joining industry associations while still a student and show up for events and industry conferences. Consider volunteering at events if access is limited to insiders.
  • Attend employer panels and events hosted by the Career Centre and graduate student associations. These events provide opportunities to network with employer contacts, many of whom are interested in meeting graduate students. See the Events Calendar on the CLNx under "Events and Workshops".
  • Make an appointment with a Career Counsellor to develop your networking strategy.

For more tips and ideas, please consult our Tip Sheet on Effective Networking.

Next: Learn how to: Conduct an Effective Job Search