Graduate Student Networking

Networking sometimes gets a bad rap in the academy. However, outside of the academy, developing professional contacts who may help you — and whom you can help in kind — is fairly standard, and one of the best ways to get a job.

Many Reasons to Network

As you are exploring options outside of the academy, networking can be useful for:

  • Learning about careers outside of the academy
  • Understanding the culture unique to an organization or industry
  • Practicing skills like interviewing
  • Making contacts that can be useful throughout your career

Finding Contacts

People You Already Know

Colleagues, family members, friends, professors, past advisors, work supervisors and even neighbors may be able to help in your job search. They can also introduce new contacts. Be as specific as possible about what you are seeking.


As a Princeton student, you have an incredible resource around the world in the form of thousands of alumni. They are often eager to help Princeton students and fellow alumni by providing career advice and referrals. Find alumni though:

  • HireTigers: Graduate students should contact Career Services for a login.
  • LinkedIn Alumni SearchWith more than 130 alumni groups, this is a great place to find alumni.

Events & Associations

Conferences and career fairs are ideal for networking. You may find job leads, and also meet people who will talk with you about the industry or profession. Professional associations are also a good way of exploring your options and making contacts. A good place to begin your search is The Center for Association Leadership (ASAE) website.