Networking and Career Fairs


Professional networking can help you explore career paths, obtain advice about your job search, uncover job opportunities, and obtain employer information.

Did you know: approximately 80% of all jobs are not posted but are filled through some form of networking?

Identify Your Purposes

Before reaching out, think about what do you want or need from the person with whom you are interacting? 

Career Research

  • Get information & advice about career options
  • Explore your strengths
  • Know how to be a good candidate
  • Learn more about a specific career

Job Search

  • Learn about hidden job opportunities
  • Know job search strategies in your field
  • Make new contacts in your field
  • Pave way for future opportunities

Student Organizations

  • Maintain awareness of opportunities for new projects & jobs
  • Enhance skills
  • Assist others in their career development

Getting Started

Who do you know that can help answer your questions?

  • Grainger Engineering Alumni
  • Recruiters/Talent Acquisition Professionals
  • Hiring Managers and Engineering Leaders
  • Executives
  • Advisors or Professors
  • Your Fellow Students
  • Professional Association contacts (see sample list of professional associations)

Attend networking events or connect with people online to build your network.

  • Set up a conversation: If you are reaching out to people via online platforms, draft a thoughtful direct message before to connect with them.
  • Be prepared: Do some research on the attendees and companies that will be present. Prepare a self-introduction (i.e., Elevator Pitch) and open-ended questions to help you engage in conversations and make a positive impression.
  • Follow up: After meeting someone, follow up with a personalized email or message to thank them for their time and express your interest in staying in touch. 
  • Maintain relationships: Stay in touch with your contacts by sharing updates, inviting them to events, or offering to help them in any way you can.

Read more about how to network.

Tools You will Need

Grainger Engineering Link

Join Grainger's digital networking platform to connect with Grainger alumni!

Access GEL →


Join University of Illinois’s main LinkedIn group which includes over 350,000 alumni!

Join LinkedIn Group →


Employers post many events on Handshake. Some recruiters are open to direct messages!

Access Handshake →

Networking Guide

Read more about how to initiate a conversation with people and start building your networks.

Learn More →

Having Questions about Any of the Steps?

Make an Appointment with ECS to Discuss Your Steps