When looking for a job, networking is the number one way people find jobs. It is important to spend a sizable portion of your job search on building and connecting with your network. Utilize your existing network and work on developing new connections. The first step of your job search can help you expand your network and meet more professionals in your field. Think about what types of jobs you are interested in:

  • Where do you want to work? Both geographically and in what type of organization (government, non-profit, corporation)?
  • What are your interests? Examples include health administration, maternal and child health, vector-borne disease, HIV/AIDS, prevention science, and more
  • Once you narrow your interests, research to find out the employers and job titles in your areas of interest
  • What qualifications are needed?
  • Are their capstone opportunities available with a potential employer?
  • Next, identify individuals in careers of interest and reach out to them
  • Ask to meet with faculty who work in an area of interest and then ask who they recommend you contact for another informational meeting


Use LinkedIn to expand your network. LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network, and it can be a valuable tool in your professional development and job search.

Once you have created a LinkedIn account and updated your profile, login to your LinkedIn account and join groups where you can find professionals with similar interests. Groups that may be of interest include:

After you join a group, click the Members tab and look at profiles and find professionals with interesting backgrounds.

Once you have found someone you would like to contact, click Connect and send a personalized message to that person. For example:

Dear Ms. Jones, 
I am a MPH student at the University of Miami and I am impressed by your experience with the CDC. I would like to talk to you about your career path and learn more about how you got started in cancer prevention. I hope we can connect. 
Thank you, Your Name

Prepare for your conversations with professionals of interest. Think about what information you want to gain from the meeting, and what information will help you decide if this is an area where you want to work. Here are some sample questions to ask:

  • What qualifications do you need to enter this field?
  • What do you recommend I do to get experience?
  • What type of capstone experience do you recommend?
  • Are there specific skills I should work on to be more competitive?
  • Do you have any colleagues you recommend I speak with to learn about this type of work?

Meeting people in person is one of the best networking strategies. Professional conferences are a great place to meet individuals in the field, and some professional associations offer student discounts. If national conferences are outside of your budget, look for state or local chapters and attend their meetings. Take advantage of community events that bring local public health professionals together such as health fairs and grand rounds. Volunteer in an area of interest and introduce yourself to the other volunteers.

Networking Tips

  • Practice your elevator pitch. The elevator pitch is your 30 second speech where you introduce yourself and summarize your experience and career goals. It is a shorter version of the interview question, “Tell me about yourself.”
  • Always have a business card with you and follow up with someone after you get their business card
  • Dress to impress