Social Networking Tips

Social networking has evolved from a way to socialize with friends in cyberspace to a means of professional networking. While in many cases the most effective networking is face to face, being electronically connected can be a powerful tool in your career search. But for all the advantages of connecting on-line, carefully consider the longterm impact of all personal information shared on-line. Information posted on-line is labeled one’s ‘digital tattoo’: once it’s out there it can be difficult and very painful to remove. With your career search in mind, consider these points:

  • What do you find when you Google your name?
  • Be careful of sharing personal information; never post your address or telephone number
  • Be very cautious in disclosing information about sexual orientation, gender, race, relationship status, political views, religious preference, and all other potentially discriminatory information
  • Never post inappropriate photos
  • Never discuss information about professors, employers, or clients
  • Think about the online communities and/or groups you have joined. What do they say about your character?
  • Would you be comfortable with your supervisor seeing your on-line networking profile? Photos? Comments? Friends’ comments?
  • Would you be comfortable with a prospective employer/colleague reading your blog?


LinkedIn is an especially powerful tool for professional networking. More and more employers and job-seekers are using LinkedIn as a means of meeting work-related needs.

Create a strong and professional profile

  • Use a professional headshot
  • Craft an informative profile headline with your area of study and/or career ambitions – for example: “Honor student at Illinois pursuing supply chain internship”
  • Develop a professional summary statement; include goals and qualifications
  • Include volunteer work and extracurricular involvement by using “Add Sections” option
  • Fill your “Specialties” section with keywords relevant to positions you want
  • Collect diverse recommendations; ask mentors, employers, colleagues, etc.

Be active

  • Update your status weekly; include what you’d mention at a networking reception
  • Show your connectedness with LinkedIn Group badges; join campus and industry groups
  • Join the Illinois MBA, MSA, MSF, or MS-TM groups, if you are a graduate student
  • Claim your unique LinkedIn URL and include it in your email signature
  • Share your work: add examples of your writing, or projects

Learn more

Check out how LinkedIn can help you network with alumni and find a job.