Networking is the process of building and maintaining professional relationships for mutual support. Experts estimate 65-85% of all job leads come from people you know, making your network one of you most powerful job and internship search tools. However, networking helps you do more than find opportunities. Building meaningful relationships with people in careers, industries, and organizations of interest to you, also provides you access to useful information that can help you make informed academic and career decisions.

Important Reminder: Always be PROMPT in your responses. Show your professionalism and appreciation for their help by responding within 48 hours.

  • Quick Tips for Effective Networking

  • Ways to Build Your Network

    Organized networking events are not the only way to make new contacts! Check out some other ways you can build your professional network.

    • Leverage Existing Contacts: Talk about your goals and interests with… 
      • Classmates, alumni, faculty, advisors
      • Mentors, supervisors, coaches
      • Relatives, family-friends, neighbors, colleagues
      • Remember, even people who do not work in your field of interest may know someone who does!
    • Use Online Resources: Set up profiles and become active on…
      • LinkedIn
        • This is the premier online tool to grow and maintain your professional network. See our CACS LinkedIn Handout
      • Social media Platforms (X, Instagram, Professional Facebook groups, etc)
      • and
        • Search for professional development events in the DC area and beyond
      • Cardinal Connect
        • An online platform connecting Catholic U students directly with alumni
    • Join Student, Alumni, and Professional Organizations
      • Find existing student organizations on the Nest or start your own
        • E.g. CU Intelligence Club, Classics Club, International Business Club, CU Mock Trial Team, etc.
      • Find campus chapters of professional organizations on the Nest or look online for local and national chapters
        • American Society of Mechanical Engineers, National Association of Social Workers, National Organization of Minority Architecture Students, etc.
      • Find alumni organizations through the Office of Alumni Relations
      • Attend Lectures, Workshops, and Panels
        • Take advantage of education events on and off campus
        • Smaller events with people who have similar interests allow for easier conversation with attendees and speakers
        • Check Handshake, the Nest for upcoming events or contact your Department/School/Professional Organization to see what they offer this semester!
  • Informational Interviews

    • What is an Informational Interview?
      • An informal conversation (in person, over the phone, or by email) with someone working in an industry of interest to you.
      • Gain an industry insider’s perspective on the skills, experiences, and academic backgrounds that are essential to a specific field or company + potential referrals
    • Who to Interview
      • You can arrange interviews with alumni, supervisors, faculty and staff, other personal contacts, and anyone doing anything relevant and interesting to you.
      • Not sure where to start? Be strategic! You can search for Catholic University alumni with the same major or working in a relevant to you using LinkedIn’s alumni feature.  In addition, identify “career boosters”- people who are well-connected to organizations and professionals in your industry.
    • Arranging and Preparing for the Interview
      • To arrange the interview, call or email the person. In your message, introduce yourself, tell them how you got their contact information and why you are contacting them, and ask for a convenient 20-30 minutes to talk.
      • Before making contact, research the individual, their organization, the industry, and prepare open-ended questions that convey your interest.
    • Conducting the Interview
      • Like a job interview, dress appropriately, arrive on time, be prepared to give an overview of yourself (your experience and career goals), and take notes. Let them know why you’re passionate about their work or the industry they're in.
      • You can tell them you’re job hunting, but don’t ask for a job. Your goal is to build a relationship, not to pressure them on the spot.
    • Following Up After the Interview
      • After the interview write down and reflect on what you learned. How may the knowledge and advice shared with you impact your academic and career decisions? 
      • Similar to a job interview, send a thank-you note or email within 24 hours. In this note, make sure to attach any documents (e.g. your resume) they may have requested.

Opportunities to Network

Unsure where to attend networking events? Start by attending Catholic U-sponsored networking events. Register on Handshake or The Nest.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Networking Events