Career Planning – Networking Etiquette

For many of us, networking can feel uncomfortable. It requires that we step outside our box and look to develop professional relationships with new people. Experts continue to estimate that between 80-85% of all job openings are unadvertised. These opportunities are shared from professional to professional, we refer colleagues and connect people in our network to opportunities. However uncomfortable, building professional connections is an essential part of career development.

Having some networking etiquette tips in your toolbox can help to reassure you. Here are a few of our top tips to keep you poised for success:

  • Be mindful of others’ time. Be brief and to the point with your communications as you look to connect with other professionals. A few sentences is enough to introduce yourself, share your common interest, and ask for something (coffee meeting, information, referral, etc.)
  • Add value. You have to give to get. Offer to connect two of your acquaintances, share a resource that you find useful, forward a relevant article that you come across, etc. EVERYONE has something of value to add.
  • Be specific in your requests. As you look to expand your network, identify exactly how others can offer assistance. Rather than asking if they know anyone who is hiring, ask “I’m wondering if you, or anyone you know, could help connect me with hiring managers in digital marketing.” 
  • Thank you notes never go out of style. Send a thank you note to a colleague who sent you a lead, even if it doesn’t go anywhere. Make others feel appreciated and you’ll be strengthening your professional relationship and your personal brand.
  • It’s never too late, reach out! Forgot to follow-up? Haven’t spoken in a while? Ideally we would always follow-up within 48 hours but, life does happen. We sometimes fail to follow-up in a timely manner or realize that we haven’t spoken to someone in months or years that might now be beneficial to reconnect with. If it has been an extensive amount of time, it can be helpful to remind your contact of how you are connected (i.e. how you met, your last conversation, mutual friends).
  • Netiquette. Add value to online discussions by sharing experiences, relevant articles, and ideas. Avoid alienating others with argumentative or polarizing posts and never bad-mouth employers or colleagues. This includes all social media platforms, personal or professional.

Challenge yourself to make one new professional connection each week; build your network!  “There is no comfort in the growth zone, but there is no growth in the comfort zone.” - Unknown

Want additional networking strategies? Need assistance with your own career development or transition? Reach out to the Office of Career Planning at or (919) 760-8341. Connect with Career Planning! Follow us on Twitter @MeredithOCP and join our LinkedIn group: Meredith Office of Career Planning. 

--Submitted by Jane Matthews, Assistant Director of Employer Relations

Melyssa Allen

News Director
316 Johnson Hall
(919) 760-8087
Fax: (919) 760-8330