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Networking and informational interviews are ways to find out about potential job opportunities and to enhance your professional development.

What is networking?

Networking is the practice of gathering contacts, as well as building and maintaining informal relationships to enhance personal, academic, or business opportunities. These types of relationships need continuous attention to stay connected. When you need things from your network, always ask what you can do for them. 

The hidden job market holds around 80% of the positions that are open. You never hear about these positions because they are filled through networking. Let your network contacts know you are looking for a job and what you are interested in and qualified to do. They may not know of something right away, but you would be surprised when something comes up and they remember you! 

Identify potential contacts that can be a part of your network, including:
  • Professional
  • Community
  • Personal
  • New potential contacts

For more tips please consider using our networking tip sheet

Tips to generate your communication strategy

  •        Develop your elevator speech
  •        Establish regular communication
  •        Prepare questions and talking points
  •        Interact on social media and networking sites

What is an informational interview?

Informational interviews are opportunities to sit down with someone in your field of interest and ask them questions about their position, how they got to where they are in their career, and for advice to further your professional development. This is also an excellent way to build your professional network!

Consider using our Informational Interviews Initial Contact Guide to assist you in knowing how to cold call or email potential networks you would like to meet and interview. You can also follow the tips below:

  • Arrange and conduct an interview in person
  • Search your professional and social media sites for people in your future career field
  • Identify alumni interested in talking with current students by checking with your career services office
  • Call or email professionals you find through your search process to request 15–20 minutes of their time to discuss their career field and how they got to where they are
  • Formulate 10–15 questions you want to ask them, and remember to always be respectful of their time (if you ask for 15 minutes, only take 15 minutes)
  • Offer to ask your questions via email or a phone call if someone doesn't have time to sit down and meet with you in person

If you are unsure how to proceed with networking or an informational interview, make an appointment and check the reason code: Part-Time Job Search Strategies.