Networking & Informational Interviewing
It’s Not About Who You Know…
It’s Who Knows About You!
Networking is using the relationships you have developed over your lifetime to help you learn more about areas of interest as well as locate and obtain employment. Most successful job searches include three components: using personal connections (networking); contacting employers and organizations directly; responding to posted advertisements.
Networking is one of the most effective ways of finding a job because most employers prefer to hire people who have been recommended to them. If someone they know is willing to vouch for an applicant’s character or suitability as a potential employee, it is like having a stamp of approval.
Speaking with people currently working in your targeted field(s) can give you a realistic, practical, and ‘up close’ sense of the profession. The person can provide insights into the satisfactions and frustrations of the job, may explain some aspects of which you were not aware, and give you advice about pursuing internships, jobs, or graduate schools in a given field. Informational interviews can be conducted when you are still assessing your interest in several careers and after you have identified the career field you want to pursue.
Consider friends, family, faculty members and your advisor as a start. These are the people who know you best and want to be helpful in your job search process. Remember to ask each individual who else they believe you should contact. Another great resource for informational interviews and networking is CC alumni. Check out OurCC Connections, a searchable database of more than 6,000 Colorado College alumni and parents who have volunteered to be a resource to students and fellow alumni about careers and career networking.
Things To Keep in Mind:
- Don’t ask for a job… simply for information and advice… asking directly for a job is unprofessional.
- Prepare for the interview, then you can ask good questions that will draw out the interviewee.
- Develop a list of five to seven prospects, so you're not discouraged if one person turns you down.
- Follow up is very important to an effective job search. Be sure you follow up in a timely manner and remain in contact with the people who have talked with you.
More in-depth networking information:
- Guide to Networking (pdf)
- Guide to Informational Interviewing (pdf)
- LinkedIn: The New Resume, a webinar presented in January 2013 for Colorado college alumni
If you need more help…
The Career Center is available to assist you in each step along the way. Stop in or call to schedule an appointment.