Career Services Office

Students and Alumni - Career Guides

Career Resources - Networking: "It's not what you know, but who you know"


What is Networking?

  • Networking involves developing a broad list of contacts and connecting with people in your field as well as those in different fields.
  • People in your network may be able to give you job leads, offer you advice and information about a particular company or industry, and introduce you to others so that you can expand your network.
  • 65-90% of job openings are never advertised or announced publically, but filled though word-of-mouth or networking - this is known as the "hidden job market".

Consider building your network through:

  • Friends, classmates, and faculty
  • UM-Dearborn alumni
  • Professional associations
  • Current and former co-workers and supervisors
  • Informational interviewing
  • Career Services events, such as panels, career fairs, and networking programs


How do I Prepare for Networking?

  1. Be Prepared - Any time, any place, you could meet a contact. Keep copies of your business card on hand and be sure your resume is up-to-date
  2. Talk With Your Personal Contacts First - Start with people you know personally - friends and family, and those you know professionally - teachers, professors and former bosses. Practice selling yourself to those you are close to first.
  3. Go Beyond Personal Contacts to People You Don't Know - Begin contacting those people to whom your personal contact referred you. Initiate each conversation by stating how you received their name. Work to establish a relationship by showing an interest in what they have to say, not just what they have to offer.
  4. Ask for Information, Not a Job - This is referred to as the "informational interview" because it is an opportunity to learn about the industry, job opportunities, and local business. This is not the appropriate time to ask for a job, instead discuss companies you are targeting.
  5. Focus Your Conversation - Use each conversation to get the most information possible. Give your contact a brief summary of your career objective, major strengths and accomplishments. The ask specific questions that will provide you with helpful information.
  6. Stay in Touch - Keep your contacts informed about the progress of your job search through brief phone calls or short, handwritten notes. Send a thank you letter within 24 hours after every informational interview. To keep the relationship beneficial for you and your contact, keep communication consistent.