Networking Resources

Networking is about building relationships and getting to know people in positions and career areas of interest.  It has always been an important job/internship strategy. Networking conversations can happen in-person, over the phone, or online through platforms like Zoom.

Section 1: Overview - What is networking and where does it happen?

Networking is Building Relationships 


  • Leverage your circle of friends, family, professors, previous employers, and the University of Michigan Alumni.
  • Be curious about the person you are connecting with to learn more about their career. Networking isn’t about winning people over or asking for a job. 
  • We recommend asking for informational interviews, which are short meetings or calls with someone in a field of interest to learn more about their job, their industry, their career pathway, and to hear their advice. 

Where does it happen? 

  • In one-on-one conversations with alumni on UCAN (University Career Alumni Network) - This UCC resource is an EASY way to connect with alumni who have volunteered to offer career expertise. 
  • LinkedIn is another great tool – one you can use to showcase yourself and your career interests. Find out more on building strong profiles.
  • Information sessions, panels and networking events with professionals - There are information sessions, networking hours, and ‘coffee chats’ all planned with you in mind. Set reminders to check out the “Events Page” on Handshake each week for the latest additions. 
  • At Immersions - Travel to employer sites to learn more about their organization and network with their team.

Use the slides below to learn more about networking. Click on the three vertical dots to view full screen for larger font. 

Section 2: How Do I Start Networking?

To get started with networking:

  • Prepare for networking by polishing your resume, practicing your elevator pitch, and generating questions to ask during informational interviews
  • Identify people to reach out to in order to build your community 
  • Make contact to ask for a time to connect. Ask for an informational interview, not a job. Informational interviews are about asking questions of professionals to learn more about their pathways, their profession and/or industry, and to get their advice.
  • Remember to send a thank you note to those you connect with

Use the slides below to learn more about getting started. Click on the three vertical dots to view full screen for larger font. 

Section 3: Samples

Sample Informational Interview Request

For help writing your email, visit our template on Lettersmith
Additional informational interview request templates can be found on Resume Worded.

To:         Sarah Smith <[email protected]>

From:        Ima Wolverine <[email protected]>

Subject:        UMICH Student -Informational Interview Request 

Dear Ms. Smith:

I am a sophomore majoring in ____________at University of Michigan and found your contact information through the U-M Alumni Group on LinkedIn. I was excited to find an alumni working in the____  industry because I am hoping to learn about the field. 

I would love to hear more about your career path. I’m also hoping to learn what skills I might need to develop during my last couple years at Michigan. Would you be open to a quick 20 minute phone call to share your experience?

Please let me know what times/date would be most conducive for your schedule. 

Thank you for your time. 

All the best, 

Ima Wolverine (734) 764-7460


Sample Thank You Note

To:            Sarah Smith <[email protected]
From:        Ima Wolverine <[email protected]
Subject:    Thank You

Dear Ms. Smith,

Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today. I learned so much from our conversation and really appreciate your insights. Specifically, I enjoyed hearing about _________________________________. 

Our conversation really reinforced for me that I want to pursue a career in _________________, and I will use your advice to work towards that goal. Would it be okay with you if I stayed in touch periodically?

Thank you, 
Ima Wolverine

Section 4: Ask Good Questions

One of the best ways to learn about career and potential job prospects is to talk with individuals currently working in that field.  This is called “informational interviewing.”  An informational interview may be conducted in person, via phone, or through a video call to help you gain knowledge about a field of choice. 

Use the slides below to help generate questions. Click on the three vertical dots to view full screen for larger font. 

Section 5: Your Digital Presence

As employers and graduate schools are looking for ways to get to know candidates virtually, your online “brand” is going to take on even more significance.  You need to consider ways to stand out that are beyond what you may have done when “in-person” connections were more the norm. 

Here are some quick tips to get you started:

  • Manage your online presence: What you tweet or post publicly is part of your professional image, whether or not you intend it to be. Be mindful of your privacy settings and/or consider the audiences that can see your posts before you publish.  Bottomline, make sure your content is suitable for future recruiters to review.
  • Update on LinkedIn. If you currently consider your LinkedIn profile to have “the basics”, now is the time to develop an effective profile and get active.  Recruiters want to see what you have been involved with, what matters to you, who you follow, and what you are interested in.  Watch this Learning LinkedIn Video for Students to uncover everything you need to know from creating a profile to growing your network, to following influencers, and sharing content. (LinkedIn account linked to your umich email is required).
  • Get active on social media. Consider leveraging social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook to highlight and build upon your industry expertise. Incorporate your professional brand into your bio by using hashtags related to your interest areas, following leaders in your field, and retweeting top industry stories. 
  • Create a blog and/or website. Remember, employers are looking, online, for additional ways to learn about applicants.  Blogs or websites are a great way to showcase your personality, skills, interests, and other important qualities. Find out why this matters to recruiters and check out the following (free!) tools for creating sites: Wix, Squarespace, or Wordpress.
  • Maintain your profiles: As you gain more experience, education, and skills, your profiles should change! Revisit your Handshake, LinkedIn, and social media profiles, and update, update, update!

Quick Tips: How AI Tools Can Help You Get Started With Networking

Sometimes the hardest part of networking is getting started. Tools like ChatGPT and Bard can help you get the ball rolling. Consider prompts like the ones below, but remember to add more details to get better responses.

  • Writing Help: Can you help me write an email request for an informational interview to...[add info on who you are reaching out to and why]?
  • Informational Interview Content: What are 10 questions I could ask in an informational interview?
  • Brainstorming help for who to reach out to: Could you list ten companies in [insert industry] in [insert location]?
  • Pitch: Could you help me write an elevator pitch for myself. Here's more information about me and my audience.