Why It Matters
Career networking is the process of building relationships based on shared professional interests. By nurturing relationships with other people in your field of interest you can gain introductions to important people, learn more about the careers that interest you and dramatically decrease your time spent looking for a job.
An information interview is often the best and most structured way to develop networking opportunities.
How To Prepare
- Clarify your goals.
- Write a brief summary of your abilities, interests and values.
- Be able to talk intelligently about yourself.
- Know why you are networking and be prepared to be honest about that with the people with whom you network. Are you just exploring majors and careers or are you interested in their company specifically for possible future employment?
- Research the contact’s organization as much as you can prior to meeting them.
How to Establish Your Network
Generate a list of companies you are interested in learning more about and types of positions you think you would enjoy. Brainstorm, categorize and prioritize the names of people you think can put you in touch with people in those careers.
Making the Initial Contact
- Commit to a schedule. Calling just 2 people a day is over 500 contacts a year.
- Make the initial contact. Use a well-rehearsed, but not forced, phone script.
- Properly introduce yourself and mention the name of the person who referred you.
- Explain the reason for your call.
- Do NOT ask for a job—ask for a 20 - 60 minute Information Interview.
- Send a resume and cover letter confirming the appointment. Explain in the letter that you have enclosed the resume only so that they might review it and give you suggestions as to your qualifications for the industry.
- Send a thank you letter following the appointment.