Networking is the act of learning and helping. It takes practice and some are more comfortable than others.
One key networking tool is informational interviewing. (More information is also available in our Career Guide).
Informational Interviews: Seek Advice, Information, and Referrals (AIR)
Learn more about career options by interviewing people about their work and career path. Do not ask for a job, but seek out advice, information, and referrals to additional contacts. Many people feel nervous in doing this process, but remember that people love to talk about what they do!
Step 1: Think about what you want to know
Potential areas to cover in an informational interview:
· Please tell me more about your job/career tasks.
· What did you major in? How did your major help (or not help) you get your first and/or current job?
· How did you get to your current position? (What other jobs did you have before this one?)
· What is a “typical” day like? What do you like and dislike?
Step 2: Reach out to your network and ask them questions (can be referrals from friends, family members, faculty)
· Start with “safe” contacts such as referrals from your parents, friends and relatives, then move on to other people in your network or contact list.
· Make it clear that you are a student or alumni from Framingham State and are exploring career options. You would like to speak with them for 20-30 minutes about what they do. You could buy them a cup of coffee as a way of showing thanks.
· Try to make the conversation an actual conversation. The questions in Step 1 are meant to help get things started. Take time to LISTEN to the answers and ask whatever follow-up questions come naturally.
Step 3: Reflect and be thankful
· Take the time to write down what you learned from each person.
· What sounded interesting to you? What stood out?
· Always remember to thank the people you spoke with by writing a nice note or email (Also do this for your parents and relatives. They will be impressed and truly appreciate your effort).