Skip directly to main navigation | secondary navigation | main content

Alumni Connections

Cornell University Cornell University College of Arts and Sciences Cornell University

College of Arts and Sciences, Liberal Arts at Cornell University

Over the course of your work life, networking will be the single most effective method of advancing your career. Even among Cornell graduates seeking a first position, personal contact is extremely important. Over 20% of Cornell graduates find their job specifically through networking.  

Networking? Don't Stress

Take the fear out of networking.

The 5 Essentials of Networking

Planning and organizing your networking activities.

video platform video management video solutionsvideo player

The best advice I can give to students, especially those who aren't going down the on-campus recruiting path at Cornell, is to use Cornell alums that work in your field of interest as points of contact. Set up a profile on LinkedIn, and conduct a search on Cornell alums that live in the city where you want to work. Ask to set up a phone interview to gain some insight on your field of interest. Even if they can't help you, they probably know other people who can!

Meg Sofen, History of Art/Spanish Literature '09, Coordinator of Corporate, Foundation, and Government Giving, Lookingglass Theatre Company

Networking Made Easy

You network every day, in the classroom, when you are out with friends, and on-line. These pages will give you the basics on how to network professionally. Make an appointment with a career counselor today to discuss questions you have about networking and how to make your networking more successful.

Myth: “Networking means approaching people you don’t know.”

False. Networking simply means relationship building.  Meeting new people is a significant part of networking, but learning from the people you already know is also a fundamental part of networking. Networking is also about being purposeful in your interactions with others, particularly when career conversations arise. Think about the networks you already have: colleagues and supervisors from past jobs and volunteer work; extracurricular activities; faculty; high school friends; Cornell peers and their families; your family.

Myth: "I should start networking when I’m ready to look for a job." 

False.  Networking is NOT about meeting people to ask for a job. It is an ongoing process of relationship building that may result in a variety of opportunities opening up for you, including possible job opportunities throughout your lifetime.  For now, networking is an effective way to learn about various career options and gather advice for achieving your goals. 

If you meet one contact a semester while at Cornell, and kept in touch once a year, you will have eight established contacts upon graduation. 

Intentional Networking: What is it?  Why is it important?

“What are you going to do next summer?” You know you will hear this often dreaded question many times, particularly when you are home from break and all of your family, friends, and neighbors want to know what you are going to do with your Cornell degree.

You can say “I don’t know. Find a job, I guess.”
Or you can say “That’s a great question.  I’m really loving my art history class this semester and I’d like to see what it’s like to work in a museum or gallery. I also enjoy writing and someone suggested that grant writing might be interesting to me so I’m going to look into that option as well.  I hope to do some research and maybe talk with some people in these areas while I’m home for break.”

Who do you think is more likely to get a referral for a person to talk with and possibly even land a great opportunity based on this short interaction? 

If you want to learn more about how to maximize your opportunities through simple, yet thoughtful interactions with others, then these pages are for you.

Connecting with Your Network: A Quick Overview

People in your network may not have jobs to offer, but they will have valuable advice to share, stories about their career paths, and possibly recommendations for contacting others. Effectively working your networks will eventually lead to a job posting or contact.

  • Reach out to everyone you know and tell them what you are looking for (exploring career options, searching for a job). 
  • Reach out to new contacts to introduce yourself and ask if they have time to talk with you about their career path. 
  • Be prepared to share a short introduction of yourself and your skills (review Market Your Skills). 
  • Add an objective to the resume you plan to circulate among your contacts. 
  • More information on informational interviewing, including sample questions and introductory letters, is available in The Cornell Career Guide.
  • Ask for advice. Don’t ask for a job.  They will know you are looking and if they can and want to help in this way, they will.
  • Ask if they know anyone else you can contact. 
  • Follow up. Follow their advice. Send a thank you letter. Keep in touch.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70 percent of all jobs are found through networking.


Keep in touch. Your networks will benefit you throughout your career; it’s not just about finding your next job.

LinkedIn: Use LinkedIn to see what Cornell Alumni with your major or in your area of interest are doing.  

  • Create a LinkedIn profile
  • Select the Network tab
  • Find Alumni
  • Use arrow on the right to get the list of majors or type your major if it doesn't appear at the top of the list

Connect with alumni  and students in your field of interest.  Join Cornell: College of Arts & Sciences group and its career-related subgroups on LinkedIn.  

Unsure about how to best utilize this tool?  Call to schedule an appointment to talk with Christa Downey about this.

Don’t forget!
Alumna = singular, female
Alumnus = singular, male
Alumnae = plural, female
Alumni = plural, male or both sexes