Why Network?

Networking has two main benefits:
  • Being able to find and connect with those whose career paths inspire you for the purpose of being better informed about career choices and finding the right fit.

  • Building relationships that yield valuable advice, and may ultimately result in referrals to jobs, internships, or further educational opportunities in a chosen field. (The latter should not be an expectation on your part - but seen as a result of strong preparation and rapport-building efforts during your time in college.)

Networking is often mistakenly associated as an activity for the privileged. But in fact, the old adage: “You have to know somebody” is really better stated as, “You have to get to know somebody.” That implies effort on your part, because networking is an important social muscle we develop and strengthen with courage…and practice. In its ideal form, it is genuine, not fake. And as a practice, it has been successfully adopted by socially savvy introverts, as well as extroverts (sorry, no excuses for the timid). 

Those willing to reach out and build new connections have historically had a smoother transition away from being a full-time student to working or earning an advanced degree in a chosen field or industry after graduation. 

Why start now?  Your years at Emory provide a safe training ground to move through the basic steps for getting started - laid out below, along with links to some of the most helpful resources we could find!
Your friends and family are your “built-in” network and may be the first to make suggestions about the professionals you can benefit by talking to. Professors and supervisors who share your career interests might also be able to refer you to helpful colleagues who can offer perspectives about future work.

Establishing an online presence helps us to communicate with friends and meet people we’d like to connect with socially. But did you know that technology can help you get a head start building a professional network while still in college?  

Tools like Emory Connects and the larger, more global LinkedIN.com are musts for any Emory student looking to gain a foothold in a future field of work. These are musts for every Emory graduate to learn and use.
College students make up the fastest-growing demographic on LinkedIN. So much so, that the company has created a bevvy of helpful advice about how to craft your profile, search for contacts, and build connections that can someday lead to valuable jobs, internships, fellowships, and the like.  

The Emory Alumni Association (EAA) makes it possible to find and connect with a comprehensive group of alumni working in many different industries. Following that initial step of creating your LinkedIN profile, you should definitely join the Emory Alumni Association's LinkedIn group.  

The EAA additionally encourages undergraduates to create a profile on Emory Connects, Emory’s own proprietary database where you can even find alumni who have volunteered as "Career Contacts." Setting up a profile is easy - simply link to your LinkedIN account to quickly populate your profile, and Emory Connects will update whenever you make changes on LinkedIN, saving you time.

Need to find an alumni email address? Sign up to access EAA’s Online Directory. Most alumni include a personal email in their profile, giving you a different option for reaching out directly to someone’s email inbox, apart from the “connect” request on LinkedIN.com or Emory Connects.
The EAA offers ways to connect with alumni via its own 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.
The Career Center offers regular workshops to guide students in the process of creating their digital networking profile. Further, students can schedule one-on-one appointments to receive critiques of their LinkedIN profile from an advisor. 

Once your profile is complete, you’re ready to learn how to seek and find the right people who can help you clarify your career interests. Our staff provides valuable tips on next steps for reaching out and what to say when you find yourself face-to-face with that sought-after new connection!

Informational Interviews

This 17 minute video is VERY useful in helping you learn about the entire process – before, during, and after an informational interview!

How to run an informational interview.

  • A meeting between an individual who wants to learn about a specific career with a professional who has experience working in your field of interest to explore potential career paths.

  • Building relationships with people who may know about jobs that haven’t been posted yet, or can make valuable introductions.

  • It’s the best way to gain first-hand info about a career you are considering.

  • It’s a great way to start building your professional network.

  • To meet potential contacts who have job or internship openings, or who can make referrals.

  • Helps build confidence and may prepare you for future interviews.

  • Don’t make the mistake of asking for a job during an informational interview. Employers are under the impression that you’re on a fact-finding mission. The moment they discover you are using this opportunity with an ulterior motive; they will feel betrayed and you will lose your credibility.

  • However, if you uncover an employment opportunity during your informational interview, follow up (next day) and ask the appropriate way to formally apply for the opening you discovered.

  • Reach out to friends, relatives, fellow students, teachers, and neighbors, friends’ parents, family friends– people you know – to see if they know anyone in the industry you are exploring.

  • You can also follow up with people you meet at career fairs, career panels, and networking events.

  • Go to the alumni section of LinkedIn to find alums to reach out: https://www.linkedin.com/school/emory-university/people/

  • Emory Connects lists alums who have already said “yes” to speaking with college students/recent grads.

  • Remember: These professionals are taking time out of their day by volunteering to assist you. Therefore, you should request about 20-30 minutes for your meeting. Try to be as flexible as possible in scheduling a time to meet. Provide them the best times to reach you.

  • On LinkedIn, when you click on “connect” with someone who isn’t a contact yet… make sure to write a brief message.

Example: “Hi, I’m a junior at Emory University majoring in Creative Writing. I see that you are a writer for ABC advertising agency. I would enjoy speaking with you about your career path and seeking your advice about how to break into your field. Are you open to a brief meeting with me? Thank you for your consideration. Best, Sam”

  • It may be your first chance to impress someone who may become a future colleague or boss- so take it seriously! Your new contact may refer you to colleagues/friends if they are impressed.

  • Do your homework. Research info about the interviewee’s occupation and their organization or company so you can have an intelligent conversation.

  • Update your LinkedIn profile and social media. Your contact may google your name to learn more about you. Make it positive.

  • Check out the interviewee’s LinkedIn Profile & any articles, local business journals or industry publications so you can bring up flattering findings such as a promotion or special recognition.

  • Greet them with a handshake, a positive attitude and good eye contact.

  • Listen intently, take notes, and ask for clarification if you don’t understand something.

  • Respect the time frame and thank them for their time before you leave.

  • Keep it brief (about 20-30 minutes) unless you have already agreed on a different time frame.

  • Be prepared to ask questions. They might ask you questions as well.

  • To start, thank them for their time, briefly tell them a few things about yourself and why you reached out to them, and then start asking questions. Click here to learn how: “My Networking Story/Creating Your Introduction.

  • Your contact may ask what you are interested in. Be able to verbalize your career goals.

  • Focus on listening twice as much as you talk. Being a good listener is important. Show that you really “hear” what they are sharing. Be receptive to show that the information is important to you.

  • Balance how much time you share, because you are there to learn from them.

  • Don’t disagree with opinions. Don’t give the contact your resume unless they ask. Don’t ask for a job.

  • Asking questions without really listening, and then handing them your resume at the end of the conversation without them asking is NOT the point of informational interviews

  • Click here for a sample list of questions.

  • Limited amount of note-taking is OK if your contact is agreeable.

  • After the interview, make notes on what you discovered. Write down any buzz words they used for future use while networking or in interviews. Ask for a business card so you can thank them.

  • Write a thank you note to people you interviewed with in 24 hours.

  • Tips/strategies for networking – following up, conducting informational interviews

  • Let them know if you followed up on their suggestions.

  • Invite them to be a part of your LinkedIn Network.

  • Keep in touch. Building a strong rapport with your career contacts will increase your chances of gaining their assistance in your future job search.

  • Confirm your appointment a day or two before.

  • Map out your route the day before. Arrive 15 minutes early (but don’t check in until about 5 minutes before.) (Being late= bad impression.)

  • Know the correct pronunciation of your contact’s name, and their position title.

  • Business Attire is appropriate; however, research ahead of time – if everyone is wearing jeans and t-shirts, you might want to wear khakis and a button down shirt instead of a suit.

  • Seek out your Emory Career Counselor for additional advice, or to talk through any questions you may have about the whole process. Career Counselors will have ideas/know alums or strategies for finding people you want to reach out to.

  • #1 is to write a thank you note!

  • Email your contact again later to follow up if you took their advice to read an article, for example, let them know you read it.

  • If they introduced you to a new contact whom you end up meeting, thank them again.

  • Ideally, your networking meetings will initiate an ongoing relationship that is mutually beneficial.

  • Keep your contacts informed about developments with your search, especially when acting on their advice or referrals.

  • Share information or offer assistance that you think would be beneficial to them, so the supportive relationship is a two-way process.

  • Watch the end of this video for advice on keeping the relationship going: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZor7bWEIXc at 12 minutes

Search for these on-line courses: “Informational Interviewing” (49 minutes)  Video: “What to ask in an informational interview (3 ½ minute) “The Informational Interview” (5 ½ minutes) “Informational Interviewing” from: Managing Your Career: Early Career (3m 35s); Video “Dos and don’ts” (3 minutes) NOTE

Tips for Networking Events

A “networking night” is a different than a “career fair.” The primary objective is not to immediately ask about job, internship or shadowing opportunities in each guest’s respective field. This is an event designed to help you learn about the many different roles and careers there are in that industry, and to find out how and where you can fit in. To help you get the most out of this event, we offer the following information and tips...

Review the Program Guide.

When you arrive, take a few minutes to look through the packet  and identify which professionals will be here that you would like to speak to.

Don’t only look at one career path.

Find out what other career paths might be a good fit for the kinds of skills and interests you enjoy.

Introduce yourself to our alums and professional guests before the event starts!

If you’re early, say hello and meet someone you don’t know – get warmed up!

Introducing Yourself at a Panel or Networking Night

If you don’t immediately recognize the field or specialty you’re looking for, you may want to ask a staff member for help.

Also, keep in mind it’s not always possible to attract guests from every area, but those professionals in attendance may know of a colleague or friend they can refer you to – it pays to network!

Introducing yourself is easy.

Start with your name, year in school, major or intended major, and then mention an interest you might have in common, or something about their field that has you curious. Then LISTEN. The first rule of good conversation is to take an interest in the person you’re talking to! The rest will follow.

Introducing Yourself at a Panel or Networking Night

Here are some helpful questions to ask your conversation partner when talking:

  • How did you get interested in your profession?
  • What made you choose your particular specialty area or career path?
  • Tell me a little about the day-to-day reality of your job.
  • What percentage of the time do you spend on different tasks?
  • What do you find most challenging? Rewarding?
  • What training or education is required?
  • What skills/personal characteristics are necessary for success?
  • Where are you planning to go from here? What are your goals?
  • What is the demand for professionals in this field? Is it a growing area?
  • What do you wish you had known prior to entering your field?
  • If you were in my position, what would you do next?
  • Are you aware of any internship/shadowing/job opportunities?
  • AND THIS IS A BIG ONE: “Who else do you know that I should talk to?”

If other students are gathering nearby, show some conversational SAVVY and invite them to join your conversation!

Confident minglers don’t wait in single file – if you’re waiting, simply attempt to listen to what is being said, and when the moment is right, introduce yourself and join in! You may learn something from other questions being asked, and vice versa. Good etiquette entails not asking more than two or three questions when others are waiting to join in – be polite.

Keep moving.

Take full advantage of our alumni and representatives and know when to say “thank you”, ask for the business card of the person you’ve been speaking to, and move on. A 3-5 minute conversation is perfectly all right when you’re moving about and meeting new people. You may wish to stop longer when finding chemistry with someone.

Understand that it may not be possible for you to have a one-on-one conversation with each of your priority guests.

Try to get to as many of them as you can, and then collect business cards so that you can follow-up.

After the event, make notes from your networking conversations and plan to follow up with a thank you email or letter, using the information on their business card.

ALWAYS follow up when you say you’re going to – not doing so can leave a bad impression.

Can’t locate a particular guest?

The professionals who have been invited to this program are quite busy, and sometimes have last-minute obligations that prevent them from coming. If you have difficulty finding a guest, feel free to stop and ask a member of the Career Center staff if the guest is present or absent.

What if there’s no one here that you have an interest in?

This is an opportunity for you to meet local professionals in a field that may interest you. However, any one guest might have a variety of experiences or perspectives to share. If you are unfamiliar with a particular field or specialty, just ask! You never know what you might learn by approaching someone! 


Tap into the Emory network to build your own professional network, and learn about career paths, industries and organizations.

Make sure you are connecting appropriately with alumni and others by consulting with your career adviser and making the most of Career Center resources.

  • 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.

Contact and Hours of Operation

Address: 200 Dowman Drive B. Jones Center, 2nd Floor, Atlanta, Georgia 30322
Phone: 404-727-6211
Email: careercenter@emory.edu
Regular Office Hours: Monday - Friday | 8:30AM - 5:00PM
Campus Closures / Holiday ScheduleThe Emory Career Center will be closed per the Emory University holiday schedule. In the case of inclement weather, Emory University will announce any additional closures through CEPAR (Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response).

Meet with your career counselor
They can help you with a lot more than just your resume!

Schedule Online, Call 404-727-6211 or email CareerCenter@emory.edu to schedule today!