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Networking is the process of gathering helpful information to research career paths and develop future job leads from personal contacts and professionals in your field of interest. Studies show that only 20% of jobs are actually posted—leaving 80% to be discovered or developed. Employers will typically begin with an internal/informal search. Therefore, networking is the No. 1 way most people actually find a job or internship.

Strangers won’t put their reputations on the line for you. A relationship must be built first. A successful networker is someone who realizes the value in building and maintaining a strong networking relationship throughout their career, not just while exploring career options or during a job search. Making networking a regular practice will help you stay informed and connected in your field and ready to make a successful job change when necessary.

Types of Networking

  • Informal networking is just building relationships
    • Volunteering
    • Study Groups
    • Courses
    • Clubs & Orgs
  • Formal networking is conducted through work, informational interviews, internships, career fairs, conferences, workshops
  • Both can lead to professionally beneficial relationships and job leads
  • LinkedIn is a great way to find new connections and explore potential career paths

Networking Tips

Guide to the Informational Interview

Networking Contact List Template (Excel File)

Network with UTK alumni across the globe on ConnectUT


LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network that connects you to contacts and increases opportunities to network with professionals. Learn all about how to create a great profile and how to connect and network with others using our comprehensive guide. If you need a professional headshot for your profile, visit our free professional photo booth!

A Note About Networking 

Networking is about developing professional relationships and is an important part of any career and job search. Positive relationships are built on trust and all interactions should be professional and respectful. Employers who recruit at UTK are required to maintain a discrimination-free environment in their recruiting processes as stated in our Employer Policies. Students should apply this same standard to professional connections made outside of campus recruiting. If a situation arises where a student feels uncomfortable in the networking or job search process, they can reach out to their career coach in the Center for Career Development and Academic Exploration for guidance.