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?

Getting Started

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

Recruiting Events

Every employer event posted in Handshake @ Illinois is a networking opportunity. When an employer comes to campus, engage in a short conversation. Request a business card and follow-up.

Social Networking

Career search contacts can be made via LinkedIn and Facebook, among others. Every individual in your social network can be a potential connection to someone with your interests. Now, it's up to you to invest time in finding people who inspire you. Once you've found a potential contact, reach out to them for advice as the new connection may turn into a mentor or advocate.

Student Organizations

Most student organizations have an alumni list or a list of contacts. Become an active member of an organization and take advantage of these contacts and your common affiliation.

Building Your Network

Networking can occur by phone, e-mail, and in person. It’s that easy! Everyone has been where you are and is willing to help, provided you approach them professionally.

Develop and Practice Your Introduction

Introduce yourself properly and explain that you are seeking information about their company, their career path, or the industry.

Create a Linkedin Profile

LinkedIn has created useful videos and tip sheets for students to guide you in the development and use of your LinkedIn account. Build your profile and start connecting with alumni and other professionals.

Initiate Informational Interviews

Informational interviews are a great way to gain real insight into the career you’re considering. The goal is to gather information about a field, company, or career; plus, they help you build contacts in the field.

Connect to Alumni

The University of Illinois’s main LinkedIn group includes over 270,000 alumni, which is a networking resource for alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends of the University of Illinois.

Connecting to Alumni

Reach out to current alumni via RSOs, Linkedin, professors, and fellow students and collect insight into their approach to career exploration and the job search process.

Maintain Your Connection

Once you establish a connection with an alum, don't waste it. Check in with them every six months or so and let them know how you're doing, what you're currently working on, and how their advice helped you.

Ask Questions

Focus on building a rapport with alumni by asking questions focused on learning more about their career path, job search, and perspective on their industry.

Resource: Grainger Mentoring

Join the Grainger Mentoring platform to connect with Illinois alumni!

Step 1. Create your profile

Complete your profile by including a professional photo, details about your program, experiences, and anything else you want to share with potential mentors.

Step 2. Reach out to alumni

Although the thought of reaching out to a stranger may be intimidating, all of the alumni in the Grainger Mentoring community are happy to help current students with a variety of topics. Take the first step and get the conversation started!

Sample Message to Alumni

Dear Mr. Flora:

I am a University of Illinois junior exploring a career in computer engineering and would appreciate learning more about your career progression as a software developer. I found your profile on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign networking group and hope we can have a follow-up conversation at your convenience. Thank you for your time.


Jacob Dawson
Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering | May 2021