Career Center > Networking > Networking 101

Networking 101

Have you heard the old saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know?” It’s as true as ever. Developing and continuously expanding your professional network is a crucial aspect of exploring, launching and advancing your career.

Tap into DePaul's Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) Network

DePaul created the Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) Network to help students connect with university alumni for career advice and insight. You can search for and connect with alumni, set up conversations with alumni mentors, join discussion forums, and participate in group chats. Learn more here.

Join the ASK Network

Set Up a LinkedIn Account

LinkedIn is the premier professional networking site, with nearly 600 million members and counting, including over 130,000 DePaul alumni! It’s a perfect place to tell your brand story, connect with others and research career pathways and employers. In addition, hiring managers and recruiters are increasingly using this platform to source talent. Learn more here.

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Schedule Informational Interviews

Informational interviews can be an incredibly productive, no-pressure way to learn about a field, explore career paths and build your network of contacts. Learn more here.

Join Professional Organizations

Virtually every field has one or more professional associations formed to facilitate networking, support knowledge sharing and advance industry interests. 

Try Job Shadowing

Job shadowing can be a great way to expand your network and get a real-world glimpse of a specific role, work environment or field. This can help you make decisions regarding your coursework and career path.

Rev Up Your Social Media

Social media is another venue for building your brand and professional network. Join industry conversations, develop industry contacts, connect with employers and get the word out about your job search. 

Tips for Successful Networking

  • Start with warm connections: It can be more comfortable and fruitful to first approach those with whom you have an existing relationship – faculty, classmates, former supervisors, family friends, and neighbors, for example. As part of your conversations, ask who else they might recommend you talk to. Personal introductions are among the best ways to grow your network!

  • Build rapport: Don’t start by asking for a referral. Instead, take time to build a relationship with the contact first. They’ll need to get to know you as a professional before they feel comfortable recommending you to others.

  • Frame it as an opportunity to learn: As you build rapport, relish in the opportunity to gain insight into the profession, field, and industry that your contact has established him or herself in. Conducting an “informational interview” is a great way to get insider information about your contact’s career and organization, and gather recommendations for those who wish to follow a similar path.

  • Follow up the right way: Following your initial conversation, send an email to thank your contact and connect with them on LinkedIn. Should you come across an article or other resource that might be of interest based on your previous conversations, share it by email.

From the Career Library: Networking 101 Resources