Career Development

Finding a Job: Networking

Networking is by far the best way to land a job or internship. Approximately 70-80% of jobs are found through networking.

Networking is creating a group of contacts who provide you with helpful information related to your career, your job search, and/or the industry or profession you plan to enter. Your goal is really to create a relationship, rather than to get something. Most people are eager to help others and over time you will realize that you too have much to offer those with whom you network.

Who can be in your network?

  • Faculty
  • Friends
  • Relatives
  • Acquaintances
  • Work Supervisor
  • Colleagues/Peers
  • Professionals whose services you use

How do you locate people beyond your friends and family?

  • LinkedIn
  • Professional Associations
  • Campus events - speakers, workshops
  • Career Fairs
  • Internships/Volunteering

Informational Interviewing

Informational Interviewing is a conversation with an experienced professional in your network. This can provide insight into the pros and cons of a career and help you determine whether this is an area for you to pursue. During an informational interview, you are the interviewer and you should come prepared with information about yourself and your goals and a list of questions. Meetings can be in person, on the phone, or over e-mail. In-person or phone meetings usually last 15-30 minutes.

It is not appropriate to ask for a job during an informational interview; you are only there seeking advice. However, informational interviews can put you in touch with the "hidden job market" of positions that are not advertised (which is approximately 80% of all jobs available). Your contacts may have an internal job available at their company, may know of jobs at other companies, or may keep you in mind for future job openings. They may pass that information along to you or even put in a good word for you with the person who is hiring.


Typical questions:
  • What skills, abilities, or personal qualities do you think are most desirable for this position?
  • What are some of the typical tasks involved in this position?
  • How did you get into the field?
  • What are the best sources to find out more about what's going on in the field?
  • What's the best place to look for job listings?
  • Do my career ideas make sense given my background?
  • Do you think I should explore other options?


Send a Thank You Note

Send a thank you note promptly after the meeting. Tell them specifically how they helped you and how you followed through on suggestions or contacts you received. Promise to check back to let them know how things went and offer to return the favor whenever possible. Remember, establishing a network means maintaining contact with others, not just meeting them once.

For more information about networking and informational interviewing, see our How-To Guides.