Networking

Networking is a great way to meet new people and form on-going professional relationships with people in your field.  It can also enable you to:

  • Learn about career opportunities
  • Gather information about the industry and available careers within the industry
  • Get advice and moral support from colleagues
  • Build collaborations for future work and exchange of information

Places to network

  • During your internship or practicum
  • Through alumni and active participation with alumni groups (see Alumni Directory)
  • Associations related to your field of study or work (see Tips for Networking at a Conference)
  • Through family and friends
  • Social groups such as sports leagues, church, book clubs, etc.

Information interviews
The purpose of an information interview is to obtain information and increase your network.

  • Identify yourself and the reason you are calling.
  • Identify your referral source i.e., a mutual friend, the alumni database, a professor, etc.
  • Tell them what you hope they can do for you
  • Ask them for a face to face meeting either over coffee or lunch, or at their office.
  • Assure them that you won’t take much of their time; 30-45 minutes.  However, let them control the time and place, as well as the length of the meeting.
  • If they suggest you meet over lunch or other meal, you should offer to pay
  • When meeting, take a copy of your resume; also you could send one in advance as a reminder that you will be meeting.
  • Be prepared to describe a little bit about yourself.  Mention your referral source again as well as what you hope they can help you with.
  • Don’t go expecting to be interviewed or considered for a position.  Remember, the purpose should be just to obtain information and increase your network.
  • Design a list of questions that will give you insight into what the organization is like to work for, what types of employees do they hire, what skills they look for, etc.  Also, ask if there are other people they would recommend you talk to.
  • Stick with the agreed upon time frame and thank the person for taking time from their busy schedule to speak with you.  Let them know what action you plan to take next.
  • Be sure to follow up with a written thank you note.  

See also…