Networking is all about relationship building and information sharing.

Its objectives are to build rapport with people, gain valuable information about companies and industries, get advice, and expand your network with new contacts. Remember that each new connection you make is a step toward building a meaningful relationship — it is not a transaction.

These tips will help you efficiently create a network that works for you.

Networking Best Practices

Be Focused

  • Even if you are exploring more than one career path, do not spread your energies across too many areas. Your time will be spent inefficiently, and you will appear scattered. The 2-Hour Job Search has a helpful framework for managing time and outreach in your search.
  • Decide what you need to know and who knows it. You may include industry experts, people in a position that interests you, or someone who has a strong network you would like to tap. Tapping into new networks is crucial for gaining exposure to greater opportunities.
  • We also offer complimentary coaching sessions to help GSB Alumni create a tailored networking strategy. Interested? Request a coaching session.

GSB alum and executive coach Michael Urtuzuastegui Melcher, author of "Your Invisible Network," shares practical tools from coaching senior leaders across industries.

Prioritize Your Network Contacts

Pitch Preparation

  • Develop your elevator pitch. Prepare a list of questions and have an answer to the question, “How can I help?” Know which stories to tell in a networking meeting to best demonstrate your abilities.

Set Up Meetings

  • Approach networking like a full-time job. Schedule time in your calendar for regular outreach. Our Networking Tracker can be helpful in managing your contacts and outreach. Use these email best practices prior to emailing your network.

Prepare for Your Meetings

  • Create an agenda for your meeting, and do not exceed the allotted time. Near the end of the meeting, ask for suggestions from other people who might advise you. Ask if there is anything you can do to return the favor. Be sure to follow up with a thank you note or email.

Networking Throughout Your Career

  • Consider networking a best practice for career development. Regularly attend networking events, set up frequent coffee chats with former colleagues, and make it a habit to stay in touch with GSB alumni as part of your long-term career strategy. It is easier to tap into an active network when you need it most.