Wherever and whenever you have opportunities to interact and build relationships with others, you have the opportunity to network! Networking is an important professional skill and a proactive job and internship search strategy, which may include 1) communicating with people you already know and 2) reaching out to contacts with whom you seek to build relationships. Both kinds of communication and relationships are important during a job / internship search and throughout your career.
Networking is best approached as a relationship - rather than a brief communication or transaction. Whether you are growing a relationship or reaching out to someone new, consider the questions:
- What am I seeking to learn?
- What can I offer to this relationship?
Early in our careers, there may be a greater portion of learning within our networking relationships. However, think about ways you can maintain balance - through staying in touch, offering thanks or taking action steps discussed within your networking communications. While our motivations for outreach may relate to securing a job or internship, the best networking relationships are formed and sustained when information sharing extends beyond inquiring about job / internship openings.
Review the sections below for information about:
- Networking with Alumni through LinkedIn
- Marquette Career Network (alumni mentoring resource)
- Additional Marquette Networking Resources
- Initiating Networking & Sample Outreach Messages
- Share Your Thanks
Networking with Alumni through LinkedIn
LinkedIn: LinkedIn the world's largest professional network with 774+ million members in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. LinkedIn’s search options support searches within your contacts, your contacts’ contacts and groups to help you identify individuals who work in particular roles or for specific companies, as well as other search criteria.
- LinkedIn Profile: LinkedIn has created this profile tip sheet to help students with profile creation and updates. The Career Services Center website offers tips for taking headshots.
- LinkedIn Alumni Searches: The alumni section of the Marquette University LInkedIn page offers efficient and focused search options. This is a great resource for exploring careers as well as targeted networking.
- LinkedIn Marquette Alumni Group: Access the Marquette University Alumni Association (MUAA) Group on LinkedIn. By joining LinkedIn groups like this one, you will have increased messaging access to group members. Connect with additional LinkedIn groups: MU offers a directory of MU-affiliated groups.
Marquette Career Network
Marquette Career Network: Marquette Career Network will help facilitate career-related conversations between you and the Marquette Network. This platform will give you an opportunity to seek knowledge and advice, explore career fields in which you are interested, and build your professional network with alumni around the world. At the same time, it provides alumni the opportunity to make a difference in the lives and careers of Marquette students and an opportunity to give back to their alma mater by sharing personal and professional experiences with current students, fellow alumni and future colleagues. Learn more and get started!
Additional Marquette Networking Resources
Virtual & In-Person Recruiting Events
Handshake summarizes career-related events and career fairs. Employers may post directly to Handshake, so the system will include MU-hosted events as well as multi-school events and employer-hosted events. Maximize your Handshake use by following these tips and instructions.
Campus Events & Guest Speakers
Events do need to be a career fair to have a career impact. Attend campus events to connect with people with similar interests. At the events, make an effort to introduce yourself to new people - strike up a conversation with the person seated next to you or approach a host or speaker to share your appreciation for the event. As guest speakers visit your classes, introduce yourself after class to share your thanks and ask a few questions. Consider sending the speaker a LinkedIn connection request after class to stay in touch!
Initiating Networking & Sample Outreach Messages
Networking outreach and conversations may begin differently based on your goals and how well you know (or don't know) the recipient of your outreach.
- A contact you know well (faculty member, family member, neighbor, club advisor, etc.)
You never know who your contacts may know. Share your goals – position type, industry, employers of interest – with these individuals so that they can best help you. Sample questions could include:
- I am targeting logistics and transportation roles in my internship search. Do you know people who work in these types of roles and are there companies that you would recommend for me to research?
- I am targeting retailers in my job search, so I am very interested in learning more about Kohl’s, Amazon, Target and other nationwide organizations. Do you have relationships with people at any of these companies? Are there other retail organizations that you would encourage me to consider in my search?
- As you consider my job search goal, do you have additional suggestions for strategies or networks I should consider for my search?
- A company-specific contact
In addition to learning about a specific industry, talking with a company-specific contact can be a great way to learn about the organization’s culture, hiring practices and job/internship search suggestions. If you are networking with the goal of targeting a specific company, keep the conversation focused on experiences and practices related to that company. In this instance, you could reach out to an alum through LinkedIn to express your interest in their organization and to ask for a conversation to learn about their experiences and recommendations for applying to the organization.
- A contact you received through a referral or found through Marquette networks
As you reach out, explain where you found this contact’s information and then tell them a little about your background (year in school, major, etc.), your career goals and what you hope to gain from talking with them. Consider the sample e-mails below.
To learn about a career field:
Dear Mr. Smith:
Dr. Smith at Marquette University recommended that I contact you to learn more about careers in banking and working at ABC Bank. I am a junior studying finance and interested in learning more about career paths within banking. Would it be possible to connect for 20-30 minutes to discuss your career path and experience with ABC Bank? I would also appreciate any suggestions you could share as I apply for summer internships.
If there is a time that works for you in the upcoming weeks, I would be happy to call you or meet you at a coffee shop near the ABC Bank Milwaukee branch. I will look forward to hearing from you and will contact you next week to follow up.
Thank you in advance for your help.
To learn about a company:
Dear Ms. Smith:
My name is Jane Student and I am a senior studying Information Systems and Marketing at Marquette University. I found your profile on the Marquette Alumni Association LinkedIn group and I’m reaching out to you based on your experience at GE Healthcare. GE is a company that I am interested in targeting in my job search and I would appreciate the opportunity to talk with you about your experiences. I am specifically interested in learning more about the company culture and your experience with the GE Healthcare Information Management Leadership Program. I would also appreciate any suggestions you could share as I apply for positions with GE Healthcare.
If there is a time that works for you in the upcoming weeks, I would be happy to call you or meet you in person to discuss your experiences and these questions. I will look forward to hearing from you and will contact you next week to follow-up.
Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Share your thanks
Networking is a give-and-take relationship. After a networking conversation, give back to the relationship by sharing your appreciation and updates. This follow-up is an important professional courtesy and helps strengthen relationships.
Follow-up should always include a thank you e-mail or letter. In addition, consider the ideas below as ways to stay in touch with your networking contacts:
- Follow up about your job/internship search progress. Did you meet with a professional your networking contact recommended or take other steps she or he advised?
- Connect through LinkedIn. As a professional networking site, LinkedIn provides an excellent format for staying in touch and keeping apprised of your contacts’ updates. Remember to personalize your invitation message to reference your conversation or relationship.
- Share articles or news related to the area of your contact’s work or topics you discussed. This approach could also be appropriate if you see that your contact or your contact’s organization was in the news or sponsored a community event.
- Provide your contact with a copy of your resume. Be open to feedback. Reassure networking contacts that they may share your resume if they come across an opportunity that they think would be appropriate for you.
- Share a helpful website, which has either personal or professional relevance.
- Introduce or refer someone from your network to your contact, or introduce or refer your contact to someone from your network.
- Personal messages are acceptable too, especially for friends and family. Birthday messages or holiday greetings referencing your appreciation for their help or providing an update can be nice reminders of your relationship and job/internship search.
The main idea to remember is that you are cultivating and maintaining a relationship. Staying in touch helps a networking relationship feel like a shared effort between you and your contacts, rather than a one-time request for help. If you have questions about appropriate follow-up, please contact the Business Career Center.