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What is Networking?

Networking is simply talking to others (see topics below!) and is one of the most effective job-search techniques you can use now and throughout your life.

Why Network?

  • Many positions are never advertised (the "hidden job market"); you only hear about them from people in the career field or company.
  • Gather career-related information and advice through information interviews; people are often flattered to be asked for advice, and they remember being in your shoes, learning about careers and looking for jobs/internships.
  • Develop contacts within a community or industry.
  • Learn about an employer of interest (this insider information will be helpful in cover letters and interviews!).
  • Learn whether further education is needed for specific careers.
  • Make yourself and your interests known.

What Networking is Not

The one thing you never ask when networking is for an internship or a full-time job. Rest assured contacts know you are seeking opportunities now or will be in the future, and many will offer to assist you. Focus on learning about the career field and gathering advice, develop additional contacts, and trust that you will naturally begin to hear about opportunities in the process.

How do I Network?

The prospect of asking for help or information may make you feel uncomfortable. This guide will help outline the "How To's" of networking.

Now that we’ve convinced you of the value of networking, how do you find people with whom to network? Students may find great contacts by utilizing:

  • LinkedIn
    • LinkedIn is a professional networking site that is often referred to as the "professional Facebook."
    • Nowadays employers expect students to have a LinkedIn profile to supplement their resume.
    • Not very familiar with it? View the LinkedIn 101: The Basics of LinkedIn webinar to get started.
    • Go to LinkedIn's Student Jobs 101 for resources; be sure to check out the handouts on page 2.
    • Establish a profile, add contacts (family, high school, college, friends, past and current supervisors), and search people, companies, groups, and more to research careers and make connections.
    • Email alumni by looking at their profile, selecting Connect, and then Add a Note; instead of asking to connect on LinkedIn, share your career field of interest and ask if they would be willing to talk for 20-30 minutes via phone or video 
    • You may also look up alumni on the Cornell homepage using the Search function; you keep your Cornell email for life when you graduate, and those who graduated in the last 5-7 years typically forward their Cornell email to their current email. When the results come up, click the People tab along the top. Sometimes it tells you the person can't be found, but their email is available in the People tab.
    • LinkedIn is a great way to find alumni! Meet with a career adviser to learn how and review our guidelines.
    • CUeLINKS is a university-wide online networking platform where community members can connect with the people and resources they need to achieve their academic, career, and personal goals.
    • Knowledge seekers (students) can connect with knowledge sharers (alumni or peers) to ask questions, seek resources, learn about careers/organizations, and navigate life at (and beyond) Cornell.
    • Cornell Career Services provides tips on how to set up your account and best use the system.
  • Career Fairs
    • The ILR Career Fair is held in September and focuses primarily on human resources, labor relations, HR consulting, and related opportunities.
    • The Social Justice Career Fair, held each March in conjunction with ILR's Union Days activities, focuses on positions in the labor movement and social justice organizations.
    • Cornell Career Services also sponsors career fairs for employers seeking students from all majors:
      • Career Fair Days in September
      • Real Estate Career Fair each September
      • The Nonprofit and Government Career Fair in February
      • The Entrepreneurship Career Fair in February
      • The Summer Opportunities Career Fair in February
  • ILR Roundtable
    • ILR sponsors the CAHRS (Center for Advanced HR Studies)-sponsored Executive Roundtable each September, which brings high-level executives from top corporations to Ithaca to answer students' questions about HR issues in the corporate sector. It is a great opportunity for students to learn more about HR, network, and make important connections for future job searches.
  • Information Sessions, Office Hours, Alumni Chats
    • Employers host information sessions, office hours, and even workshops as a way to connect with students. Connect with them while they are here on campus!
    • Alumni like to give back by sharing their experiences with students. They give workshops, set up office hours, and also host informal “chats.” Meet with them while they are here on campus!
  • ILR Alumni Association Career and Networking Panels
    • Each fall the ILR Alumni Association hosts a keynote speaker and career and networking panels for students, usually in September. Watch for emails about the keynote speaker, panels, barbecue, and how to participate.

These and other Cornell-sponsored recruiting events provide a great forum through which to talk with potential employers.