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How Does Networking Work?

Career hunting or job searching can be a long, frustrating process, but one that is absolutely essential to your career development and job search. There are only so many companies recruiting on campus, and you may not even be interested in the specific employers who visit. It is to your benefit to research options and learn about opportunities through networking. Additionally, since recruitment firms and online referral services are so expensive, most managers will start their search by asking fellow employees if they know any good candidates. If you come to mind because you have effectively networked, you will have a greater chance of being considered for positions that are never even posted.

Who is in your network?

Faculty, staff, friends, family, friends of family, alumni of UB or your other alma maters, religious leaders, neighbors, classmates, classmates’ parents, other recruiters, co-workers, casual contacts at social events, speakers in class, contacts through student clubs, etc. etc. No longer should the quote “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” de-motivate you; let it inspire you to meet the people around you who can be your network!

How do I get started?

  1. Know yourself; your strengths, needs, interests, career path.
  2. Generate your “elevator speech”
  3. Identify industries, geographic areas, and/or career fields on which to focus.
  4. Use resources to find people with whom to network (above)
  5. Don’t be afraid to start the conversations!

Examples of Conversations

CAUTION: It is essential that you customize your messages to contacts, and DO NOT simply cut and paste these examples into your own emails. Our contacts who get emailed or called often will notice when the same terminology is used repeatedly and not respond as easily to those who do not make their specific emails relevant and unique. Create your own positive impression.

Over the Phone

Hi, I’m Vijay Kapoor, a marketing MBA student at the University at Buffalo School of Management. I received your contact information from the Career Resource Center (alumni database). I’m not calling for a job – I would like to ask you some career-related questions about your position as a marketing director and the Buffalo advertising market. Your professional insight will assist me with my job search. If you are not free at this time, I’d be happy to set up another time to talk briefly in person or over the phone.

Depending on how the conversation progresses, be prepared with well-developed questions based on research you have already done and be prepared to discuss why you have an interest in that industry. Remember to speak clearly and show enthusiasm to make up for the lack of non-verbal communication.

Through Email

"Dear Mr./Ms. X:
I am currently a first year MBA student at the University at Buffalo School of Management and received your alumni contact information from the Career Resource Center. As a SOM alumnus, I am hoping you would be willing to share your insight of the NYC banking industry

As the East Coast Regional Manager for First Republic Bank, I’m sure you are very busy. Would you be able to chat for 15 minutes to answer a few questions about some employment trends in banking you’ve noticed and to offer advice on what you think makes a candidate competitive? We can talk by phone or via email, whichever you prefer. Please call me collect at 716-123-4567 or email at student@buffalo.edu.

I have attached my résumé for your convenience. Suggestions about the résumé content or format are welcomed. I appreciate your help. Thank you for time. I look forward our conversation.

At the Lunch Meeting

The key is to ask a lot of questions about the person with whom you are sitting. Converse about topics that are important to that person, however, at the appropriate time, let the person know about your background and future plans.

“Hello. I’m Ann Smith."

Remember to clearly pronounce your name with space between your first and last. Smile, offer your firm and confident hand to shake, and establish eye contact.

As greeting continues through introductions:

“I’ll be graduating from UB in May with a BS in business and a concentration in Human Resources. I have some HR-related experience creating Excel personnel reports as part of my job at Tops Markets, where I also participate in training new employees. Currently I’m seeking an HR internship, possibly in recruiting or training and development.”

Proactively summarize what you are doing in your job search:

“In addition to checking want ads and internet job sites; I’ve been sending résumés directly to companies and working through network contacts including some alumni from UB. I’ve even done some informational interviews, which have been very helpful.”

This may prompt some offers to help such as:

“Here’s my business card, send me your résumé” or “Sounds interesting; I’d like to see your résumé to get better idea of your background and qualifications.” or “My Uncle’s company may be hiring someone in HR, send me your résumé and I’ll pass it along.”

Carry a pen and small notepad, so you can respond quickly:

“I’d be happy to email my résumé tomorrow. Do you have an email address I can send it to?”

After a Class Presentation

"Hi, I’m Jane Doe.

Thank you for coming in to talk to our class about the effects of the new shipping regulations on the global supply chain. It is really interesting to see the connection between what we are learning in class and how international supply lines are managed from those dealing with these real issues every day.

I’d like the chance to learn more about today’s topic and especially about your company. Would you mind if I followed up with a few more questions via email in the future? May I have your business card?"

Then the professionalism of your future correspondence will help develop an on-going learning and networking relationship.

The Rebuttal to “We Don’t Have Jobs Open Now”

"That’s okay. I am really interested in talking with you about your role within the firm, your career path and advice you would have for someone who plans to pursue public accounting."

General Networking Tips

In addition to the resources above, we encourage current students to take advantage of the following: