Networking is a great way to learn more about various career fields, organizations, and to network with a range of professionals in areas of interest. Networking is connecting with people you know, and people you can meet, to learn more about particular occupations, industries, employers, and other aspects of the world of work. It is an essential tool for exploring career your interests, and for finding jobs and internships. Everyone you know is part of your network – family, friends, coworkers, classmates, faculty, advisors, coaches, etc. – and each one of them has their own network of contacts, as well.
In addition to the people you already know, you can expand your network by connecting with employers, alumni, and other professionals in your field of interest. Job fairs, professional organizations, community events, and volunteering are all potential means of expanding your network of contacts.
How to Prepare for Networking:
- Identify what you want to accomplish from your interaction or discussion.
- Conduct some research on the issues that you want to discuss so that you are able to ask more in-depth, informed and useful questions.
- Gather materials that would be helpful to take to your meeting (i.e. a resume if you would like feedback from a professional in the field).
- Dress appropriate for the work environment in which you will be meeting.
- Be punctual for your appointment or telephone call!
- Send a thank you note or e-mail after your meeting to express thanks and appreciation for the information you learned and for the time spent.
Questions You Might Ask a Contact:
- What are your specific position responsibilities?
- What is a typical day like for you?
- Is there much variety and/or creativity in your daily work?
- What type of personality in terms of skills, interests and abilities is needed to meet these responsibilities?
- How would you describe the work environment?
- How did you get into this field?
- How did you prepare for entry into this field?
- What are the opportunities for advancement in this field?
- What do you particularly enjoy about your work?
- What is the most frustrating aspect of your job?
- Do you belong to any professional organizations? Should or can I join now?
- Can you recommend resources for more information, i.e. an appropriate journal for this field?
- If you were starting out again, what would you do differently?
- What kind of experience would be important for me to receive to vbe competitive? How can a student get this type of experience?
- How would you advise I go about looking for an entry-level position in this field?
- Can you refer me to someone else who might provide me with additional information?
- What is the salary range for an entry-level position in the field?
- How did you first learn about your job vacancy?
- What are your long range career goals?
- What majors are most successful in securing employment in this field?
- What type of education is required for career advancement?
- Are job prospects good, stable or competitive?
- What advice would you give to someone starting in this field?
- Where do you see a person like me fitting in this field/company/industry?
- How should I prepare for a job interview in this field?
- Who are the recognized leaders in this field?
- What is a typical career path for someone coming in at my level?
- What are the largest obstacles I would face in this job?
- What are the most necessary skills for this job?
- Is there formal or on-the-job training?
- How can I best utilize the degree I have?
- How many people like me have made a successful career change? What kinds of backgrounds did they have?
Questions a Contact Might Ask You:
- What is your college major? Do you like/enjoy it?
- Why did you attend the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay?
- What about this career field is appealing to you?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Have you talked to any other professionals in the field?
- Have you had any practical work experience/internship in the field?
- Have you worked on completing a resume?
- Are you considering other career choices in addition to this field?
- Are you considering this career long-term or temporarily before attending graduate school?
- How did you determine that this field may be something you want to pursue?
- Why have you decided to pursue a graduate or professional degree?
- Why would you like to work for our organization?