Although searching through job postings can lead to a full-time position or internship, the majority of jobs out there are never posted. This means that the only way to find them is through networking. Networking is as simple as talking to people you know and people you have never met. As you progress through your college experience and career, you will continue to expand your professional network. A strong professional network is the most powerful job search tool you can have.
Who To Talk To
Family, Friends, and Professionals You Know
The easiest way to get started is by speaking with the people you already know. Ask your family and friends if they know anyone working in your field of interest to whom they could introduce you. Let your past co-workers and old bosses/supervisors know what you are looking for and see if they can refer you to anyone. You just need one person to get the ball rolling.
LinkedIn is another great way to find people with whom to connect. You can search by organization, alumni, title, geographic location, and more. Once you find someone with whom you would like to connect, you can send a request through the site. Once you have connected with the person, it is time to step out from behind the computer and set up a time to chat with them in person or over the phone. See the LinkedIn Handout for detailed information on how to utilize LinkedIn to connect with alumni and professionals.
Professional associations are made up of large groups of people who all work in the same field or industry. Many professional associations have job and internship boards where opportunities are posted. Joining a professional association may be an excellent way to connect with other professionals in your field of interest. If you are not ready to join a professional association, it could be useful to see who the active members are and reach out to them.
What To Say
Conducting informational interviews is the best way to reach out to people you have never met before. Informational interviews are a great way to learn more about a specific career or industry, and they also provide you with a structured opportunity to gain advice from someone in your field of interest.
Initiating The Interview
You can initiate an informational interview by sending an e-mail to the contact in which you introduce yourself, mention how you are connected to them, explain your interest in the field, and request 20 to 30 minutes of their time. See the following example: