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Career Services Center
261 Schwartz Center

Basic Rules for Networking

Get permission to use a contact’s name

Give contacts a copy of your resume and create a professional online profile

Never pressure a contact for employment

Keep track of your networking activity and keep contacts up to date on your employment search

Always remain professional both online and in person

Remember to thank your contacts when you get the position

Develop Your List/Network of Contacts

  • Talk to the obvious people (your family, former co-workers, faculty, and advisors) as well as people you wouldn't normally include in your employment search (your doctor, dentist, clergy, beautician or barber, etc.)

  • Many professional associations have student chapters or allow students to join at a discounted rate. Association meetings are an excellent way to mingle with professionals in the field.

  • The KSU Alumni Association can help connect you with professionals in your career field.

  • Always be aware of how you act and what you say (in person and online) -- you never know when there is a

    potential contact right in front of you. Prepare your “one-minute elevator pitch” (see reverse side) and if a

    conversation lends itself, speak up and let the person know that you are in the employment market.

  • Don't let fear or discomfort stop you from making contacts. Instead of thinking, “I don't want to impose or

    ask others to help me,” think, “Every contact I make brings me closer to my position.”

  • There are numerous social and professional networking sites, such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter that

    can help you connect to professionals in your career field and obtain employment. Be aware that many employers are using social networking sites to screen candidates -- so ensure that your online image is professional!


Get in Touch with Your Contacts and Solicit Their Assistance

  • When contacting someone you don't know, be professional in your approach, explain your purpose, and remember to respect their schedule. You must formally get permission to use a person's name, and other contact information, if you wish to have them assist you in your search for employment.

  • Emails, phone calls, and social media sites are common ways to connect with potential contacts. Always proofread emails and all online content for spelling and grammar mistakes. When sending email, use a subject line with concise and informative language and a signature that includes your full name and appropriate contact information. Avoid slang, long sentences, and consider using your email address to maintain a high level of professionalism.

  • Give your contacts a copy of your resume and explain the type of career you are seeking. The better they understand your interests and goals, the more effectively they can assist you. With social media sites such as LinkedIn, spend time to create a full, professional profile and solicit references.

  • Never ask a contact for employment. Instead of asking “Can you get me a position at your law firm?” you should say: “Do you know if there are any openings at your firm?” The latter question is less likely to put your contact in a position where he/she feels a direct obligation to you.

  • Don't ask inappropriate personal questions. Remember, this is a professional interaction and the impression you leave will determine how hard that contact will work on your behalf.

  • If you schedule an informational interview – which involves actually meeting with people in your chosen field to gather information about what they do – be certain to get clear directions to the location, dress professionally, and prepare questions to ask at the informational interview.

Who do You Know?

Every person you know can help you get one step closer to your position. Consider these possibilities for networking!

From my family?

From my old or current position?

From the University?

From hobbies & interests?

From my past?

Other professionals?

Social media sites






Other Relatives







Trade Shows



Resident Advisers


Career Advisors


Student Organizations

Alumni Associates

Club Members

Team Sports

Athletic Clubs

Fitness Classes

Volunteer Activities

Interest Groups

Social Events & Mixers




Armed Forces


Local Businesses



Insurance Agent


Real Estate Agent


Outplacement &
Employment Services

LinkedIn Contacts &
Group Memberships

KSU Alumni

LinkedIn Group

Industry & Professional

Twitter Feeds

Sample Phone Script for Networking

"Hi Mr. Johnson. My name is ... and I am a senior at Kent State University majoring in Marketing. I picked up your business card at your table at the Fall Internship, Co-op and Career Fair and am interested in learning more about your industry. I am considering an internship and career in marketing for a non-profit organization and I noticed that your organization has had a great deal of success in public relations over the past five years.

Would you be available to meet with me so I can learn more about how you found your position and your opinions about the future of non-profit organizations? I'd be happy to come to your office to meet, or to speak on the phone if that is more convenient. Is there a time in the next two weeks that works for you?"

What is an Elevator Pitch and Why is it Important?

Your elevator pitch is a quick, personal selling statement. It can be used riding in an elevator with the person standing next to you, and can also serve as the foundation for cover letters, email introductions, and meeting employers at career fairs. Your one-minute pitch should help make a good, first impression and include the following:

  1. Who you are, plus a credential. Your name and something that differentiates you from your peers (major/degree, athlete, veteran) and/or establishes a relationship (graduate of same college, from the same home town).

  2. A specific goal/career interest. This will allow that person to help you or possibly connect you to someone who can.

  3. How you have demonstrated your interest. Demonstrate your interest with examples of things you have already

    completed. Don’t just say “I have always wanted to be a doctor,” but rather “I have taken pre-med courses.”

  4. Why you are qualified. People typically like to help those they feel will be successful. Demonstrate your qualifications

    by sharing leadership and work experience, achievements, expertise, skills and strengths.

  5. A question or request for assistance. Consider giving the person two options for ways they may be of assistance. For example, “If your company offers internships, I would appreciate the name of the person in charge of that program, or perhaps I could meet with you in person to find out more about your organization and opportunities in the marketing profession.”

  6. Be sure to offer each contact your business card for future reference!