Everyone you know is part of your network. You share information with and learn from one another.

Through networking, you interact not only with people you have a direct relationship with, but also with people in your friends' networks, thus developing new contacts. Through friends, friends of friends, and referrals from friends of friends, you can learn about internship opportunities, career paths, job listings, and career advice you may not have learned about otherwise.

The majority of all work opportunities are found through some avenue of networking. For this reason, it is important to learn how to introduce yourself to referrals, navigate a career fair and employer presentations, and make the most of informal and formal opportunities to meet people. Networking requires patience as it will not always yield immediate results.

Informational Interviews

Informational interviewing is the process of identifying someone in a career field of interest and asking them questions to help you learn if a field, company, position, class, etc., may be a good fit for you. People tend to be very open to participating in informational interviews if you ask in a polite, professional manner.

Learn how to identify potential interviewees, review introductory phone and email scripts, and select questions to ask someone of interest from this helpful list of tips from University Career Center.

Find a Career Mentor at

One means of networking is with UVA alumni. Review the information in this networking handout (starting at the bottom of page 3) to learn how to use the Alumni Directory. If you have any questions about the database or how to use it, visit us in Thornton A115.


MentorNet is the E-Mentoring Network for Women in Engineering and Science and is a nonprofit initiative sponsored through partnerships, grants and donations. Their mission is:

  • To further women's progress in scientific and technical fields through the use of a dynamic, technology-supported mentoring program.
  • To advance women and society, and enhance engineering and related sciences, by promoting a diversified, expanded and talented workforce.

LinkedIn is an online network of more than 150 million experienced professionals from around the world.

When you join, you create a profile that summarizes your professional accomplishments. Your profile helps you find and be found by former colleagues, clients, and partners. You can add more connections by inviting trusted contacts to join LinkedIn and connect to you.

Your network consists of your connections, your connections' connections, and the people they know, linking you to thousands of qualified professionals.

Through your network you can:

  • Find potential clients, service providers, subject experts, and partners who come recommended
  • Be found for business opportunities
  • Search for great jobs
  • Discover inside connections that can help you land jobs and close deals
  • Post and distribute job listings
  • Find high-quality passive candidates
  • Get introduced to other professionals through the people you know

LinkedIn is free to join. They also offer paid accounts that give you more tools for finding and reaching the right people, whether or not they are in your network.

If you have a LinkedIn account, consider joining these groups which are open to students: