NETWORKING

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I N F O R M AT I O N A L I N T E R V I E W I N G
WHAT is Networking? Networking is a process of asking people you know (and the people they know) for information, advice, ideas or support as you plan and pursue your career goals. 1. Determine your goal(s) – What kind of information or advice do you need? 2. Identify appropriate people to contact – Who has this information for you? 3. Schedule meetings or conversations, preferably in person. Make sure to do your homework before meeting. WHAT’s the point? Get information about a career, job, company, or industry that interests you. Brainstorm with knowledgeable individuals about your career plans. Let others know of your goals and enlist their help. HOW do I do it? Choose your communication channel: face-to-face, email, letter, or phone. One way to begin the process is to write first and then follow up by phone. The ideal scenario is to meet in person. Vary your approach according to the needs of each situation and to accommodate your contact. WHEN should I network? Every day. You are limited only by your creativity and confidence. Let discretion be your guide. WHERE should I network? You’ll find it more interesting to meet at someone’s workplace; however, it’s imperative to be flexible and accommodate your contact’s preferences. WHO is a networking contact? Virtually everyone. Begin by reviewing your personal network (family, friends, fellow students, neighbors); professional contacts (managers, internship supervisors, colleagues, faculty, advisors); and people you know from volunteer or community activities (clubs and sports, religious and cultural organizations). Make sure to use the Tufts Career Advisory Network (Tufts CAN) to connect with alumni who have volunteered to share their experience with you. NEW - Tufts Career Advisory Network
The first university-wide network for all undergraduate, graduate and professional schools. More than 9,000 alumni advisors have volunteered to share their knowledge of careers, industries, employers, and graduate schools.

http://tuftscan.org EMAIL ETIQUETTE
■ Email a brief introduction and request ■

■ ■ ■

time to “meet or speak” Carefully craft your subject line: “Question from Tufts senior,” “Referral from Amy Smith” Don’t ask ‘YES/NO’ questions (e.g., “Are you hiring?”) Proof for perfection. Assume your email will be printed, passed around, or filed Don’t expect immediate responses; follow up in a week or so by phone/ email Customize Your Approach
Review sample emails from Tufts students to contacts in the Tufts Career Advisory Network (Tufts CAN) requesting informational interviews. Note that these are not “canned,” generic approaches, but customized to the alum’s background and the student’s interests.

Dowling Hall, 7th Floor, Medford, MA 02155 617.627.3299 * http://careers.tufts.edu

or simply want the low-down on which professor to study with. Networking is simply a research assignment. Tip: Be specific. your roommate’s mom. networking will improve with practice. industries. Decide how you will make contact. Dowling Hall. if possible. or graduate schools. and keep up the momentum by maintaining memorability. It could be a professor.A New Look At Networking THE MYTHS You must be extroverted to succeed You need to have ‘connections’ You should talk to people at senior levels THE TRUTH Networking is a process of collecting useful information. Exchange of Information. We’re talking about networking as career research. homework that will get you an A in the world of work. Career Services. but not for alumni you’ve never met. (Goal. They give you information.M. Texting is fine for your sorority sister who graduated last year. Try a warm-up exercise.E.627. How did you get started? Which skills are most valuable in this field? Are there courses you’d recommend? Write the name of an individual and your goal. however. you’ll use communication skills. To excel at this research.    This is something you do everyday at Tufts. The information helps you make smart decisions as you explore careers. Remember: Like tennis or golf.3299 * http://careers.tufts. your campus activities.edu . you’ll use skills that are quite familiar. Read the steps below and think of someone who may have useful career information for you. and your social life. or if you need a mechanic. you also network for other purposes. a member of the Tufts Career Advisory Network (database of some 9. Develop your own goal. THIS PROCESS IS A G. Think about information that will be useful in your career search. you need a goal.000 alumni who have volunteered to share career information with you) or someone who gave a lecture to your class. MA 02155 617. Memorability) GOAL   For every individual. what do you do? You ask other people. What kind of information would help you? Aim for a face-to-face meeting. depending on your familiarity with your target audience. employers. prepare to exchange information. Think about it. For example. just as you do in the classroom. 7th Floor. When you want to find a good restaurant in Boston. Medford.

who else should I be talking to? Research and relationship building tactics are essential to support your overarching goal: jobs and internships. EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION  What will you say. Dowling Hall. If your writing is legible.tufts. “Tell me about yourself” or “Why are you interested in ___?” Be ready with a brief. Instead. “we’re not hiring now. the latter creates a more memorable impression. build rapport with your contact. There’s no target (job) right now. These two “golden questions” are guaranteed to trigger valuable information for you. MA 02155 617. the answer is likely to be “no. you’ll hear about it.3299 * http://careers. You need to follow -up to stay top-of-mind. with an interest in _________. Tip: Do not pitch. from attire to conduct. and learn useful information that supports your career search.” it’s not up to someone else to track you down if that changes in the future. If an individual does know of a job and your connection is good.edu . so behave like a potential candidate and consider this a professional meeting in every way. visit http://careers. what steps would you be taking? Based on my interest in _________. Each step of your ‘research project’ gets you closer to that goal and expands your network. Do your homework and be prepared. and you’ll keep the conversation on a positive note. Your first follow-up should be a thank you note. If you ask this fatal question. by email or handwritten. What’s next? Make an appointment with Career Services to customize the GEM model for your own networking. 7th Floor.tufts. Medford.” and you’re now dealing with an awkward pause.627. There may be in the future. carefully crafted statement that explains your background and why/how it relates to this individual’s career experience. (Why not buy Tufts note cards for corresponding with alumni?) Future communication should be carefully planned so that it is judiciously timed.Tip: Never ask for a job! This is the surest way to sabotage a conversation because most people don’t have jobs to offer at any given point in time. when you’re asked. MEMORABILITY  How will you maintain contact so you’ll be remembered? If you’re told.edu/students/majors/TuftsCAN. Since you’re in charge of the meeting (you asked for it). and based on mutual career interests. ask open-ended questions. If you were in my position. informative rather than favor-seeking. For more helpful networking information.asp Career Services. you will also be expected to pose some smart questions.

demonstrate knowledge through conversation and questions that reflects what you learned specifically about this organization or industry. If a job develops. Request 20-30 minutes to ask questions and get advice. In your first email. or entrance into a new market. let others know of your interests.3299 * http://careers. Don’t overstay. phone and email are good options due to geography and time constraints. Before the Meeting Do your homework. This might involve a recent article in a professional journal. Avoid questions that can be answered with one-word responses. be prepared to stay longer if your contact indicates an interest/willingness to extend the meeting. or a mutual career interest. A face-to-face meeting is optimal. or industry.” Career Services. 7th Floor. At the Meeting First impressions count. Read news periodicals and trade journals. respond with flexibility to accommodate your contact’s schedule. a competitor’s product line. Remember to say “thank you. It’s also an opportunity to brainstorm with knowledgeable individuals about your career plans. Nervous? Keep in mind that you and your contact share something in common: the Tufts experience. however. the individual who referred you.I N F O R M AT I O N A L I N T E R V I E W S : O N E W AY T O N E T W O R K ► 80% of available jobs never get advertised ► Some 70 – 80% of all job seekers find their positions through referrals ► Some 9. and bring something for note-taking. As a young professional. Be prompt. be sensitive to that timing.tufts. Come prepared with open-ended questions to create a good discussion. Did you get the individual’s name from the Tufts Career Advisory Network? A professor? A friend? Remember Rule #1 – never ask for a job. and ask if it would help to send along your resume as background information for your discussion. your contact will be more likely to remember you if/when a job becomes available. Dress as if it were an actual job interview. advice. An effective approach is to email first and schedule a convenient time to talk. prepare diligently and present yourself impressively. introduce yourself and indicate the source of your referral. You’ll be speaking with busy people so make the most of their time. Even though this is not a job interview.627. See the Career Services homepage and follow links to Careers & Majors to research career paths. Instead. updates. you asked for it. Medford. and continued communication. Don’t ask questions that are readily answered at the organization’s website. come with a list of questions. you’ll create a favorable impression. and enlist the help of those in your targeted field. If you clearly show your interest and your research. However. Take the initiative in conducting the interview. most people don’t have jobs for you. Thus. and contacts. If you asked for 2030 minutes. How to get the inside scoop? Search online resources.000 Tufts alumni have joined the NEW Tufts Career Advisory Network. Dowling Hall. indicating a willingness to do informational interviews An Informational Interview is a conversation with someone who can give you an insider’s perspective on a specific career. Most are willing to discuss their jobs and careers with you as long as you’re respectful of their busy schedules. employer.edu . Why would anyone want to meet with me? And how will I ask them? People who enjoy their work like to talk about it. a change in leadership. Don’t ask for a job! It’s politically incorrect as well as counterproductive. They have valuable information. You never know the possibilities that might emerge from an Informational Interview. MA 02155 617. you should have your calendar handy. you’ll hear about it if you’ve impressed your contact with your knowledge and enthusiasm and you’ve stayed in touch via thank you notes. It is NOT a time to ask for a job or internship.

Career Questions ► Which jobs and experiences have led you to your present position? Which have been most helpful? ► Would you describe the tasks or projects that occupy most of your day? ► Which skills do you use on a daily basis? ► Which particular skills or talents are most essential to be effective in your job? ► How would you describe your environment and the people with whom you work? ► From your perspective.edu . MA 02155 617. either email or hardcopy.After the Meeting Immediately send a thank you note. Be as specific as possible.627. Dowling Hall.tufts. 7th Floor. what are the challenges of working in this field? ► Which college courses and experiences have proven most valuable in your work? ► How important are grades/GPA for obtaining a job in this field? ► What obligations does your employer expect of you outside of the work week? Are there organizations you are expected to join? Are there social commitments? How has your job affected your lifestyle? ► Which professional journals and organizations would help me learn more about your field? ► Are there trends or changes in your industry that you foresee? ► How does a person advance in your field? What is a typical career path in this field or organization? ► How does your employer support your professional development? ► Could you describe an entry-level job and its functions in your organization/company? ► What other kinds of organizations hire people to perform the functions you do here? ► What kinds of experiences would you encourage for someone pursuing a career in this field? ► Will my education prepare me for a job in your field? If not. Sample Questions The following are some questions that you might ask in an Informational Interview. and experience. how can I improve my candidacy? Job Search Questions ► How did you go about finding your job? ► Which strategies would you recommend for getting a job in your field? ► Which skills are the most important to highlight during my job search? ► Why did you decide to work for this organization? Which criteria would you recommend for evaluating employ- ers? ► With the information you have about my education. Medford. Keep accurate records and find reasons to stay in touch with your contacts so you’re ‘top of mind’ when they learn about a position. what steps would you be taking? Career Services. Use your new information to further tailor your resume. and job search techniques. Select a dozen or so that would be most helpful for you. what other fields or jobs would you suggest I research? ► If you feel comfortable and it seems appropriate: Would you mind taking a look at my resume? Two Golden Questions ► Who else should I be talking to? May I use your name in contacting them? ► If you were in my position. skills. cover letter.3299 * http://careers. for example. citing particularly helpful advice from your contact or new conclusions or decisions you’ve reached as a result of your meeting. do not expect to ask all these questions.

SAMPLE NETWORKING EMAILS SUBJECT LINE: Tufts English Major Interested in Business Dear Mr/Ms. Thank you for considering my request.000. Smith recommended you as a helpful resource. It’s helpful to read about your career path. I am particularly interested in how your similar academic background has helped you in the life science industry. Thank you for considering my request. at your convenience. I’ll call you in about a week to follow-up. MA 02155 617. I found your name in the Tufts Career Advisory Network. I welcome an email or call (000. Smith. 7th Floor. As an English major studying entrepreneurial leadership. Dowling Hall. for a brief discussion. (Name). I’m exploring careers that combine my interests in language and business. suggested I contact you in connection with my interest in advertising. Your Name Career Services. Thank you for being part of Tufts CAN. I’ve been visiting your website to learn more about your clients and your advertising campaigns. if you’d like to reach me. Smith at Tufts Dear Mr/Ms. I wonder if it might be possible to meet you. Since I have three more semesters here at Tufts. I’m interested in any courses you might recommend to help me prepare for an entry level business career where I can use my writing skills. In the meantime. Medford. (Name). Would it be possible to send a few questions to you? I know you’re busy. From your online bio.0000). Sincerely. and appreciate your willingness to consider my request.3299 * http://careers. Your Name SUBJECT LINE: Career question from Tufts biotech major Dear Mr/Ms. (Name). Sincerely. Sincerely. my academic advisor at Tufts. Thank you for your willingness to share your experiences in consulting through the Tufts Career Advisory Network. After reading The Wall Street Journal article about your success in advising entrepreneurial ventures. I see that you were also an English major. and Prof.edu . I’m exploring boutique firms.627. Your Name SUBJECT LINE: Referral from Prof. Hearing about your career choices and your agency experience would help clarify my goals for the coming year. Prof. As I prepare to graduate in May with a biotechnology degree.tufts. and I would appreciate the opportunity to speak or meet with you to ask your advice. I researched your firm to learn more about your work for startup companies.

Sincerely. as I prepare to declare a major. With your responsibilities in Client Service and MIS. small businesses.000. Thank you for taking the time to help. I’m particularly interested in AB&C’s client mix of families. you can reach me at 000. Thank you for speaking at Tufts last night to explain your career path in financial services. I would like to speak with people working in the field. Sincerely. (Name). I am wondering if you might respond via email to a few questions or if you would prefer that I call you. (Name). you offer a broad view that would help me better understand relationship management as well as the technical underpinnings of the investment process.0000 or name. Class of XXXX FOLLOW-UP EMAIL: Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. Your Name Tufts University. Class of XXXX Career Services./Ms. Dowling Hall. Thank you for considering my request. Civil engineering has interested me since my sophomore year in high school.edu ./ Ms.627.edu.tufts.SAMPLE NETWORKING EMAILS SUBJECT LINE: Follow-up from Tufts Finance Panel Dear Mr.name@tufts. I appreciate your help and look forward to learning more about your career through the following questions:  How did you decide to major in Civil Engineering?  What type of internships would you recommend?  What is a typical career track for a Civil Engineer?  Which skills do you find most valuable in your work? If you have other ideas or suggestions. and non-profits. I would love to hear them. MA 02155 617. If you would like to follow up with me. Your Name. Your Name SUBJECT LINE: Tufts freshman with Civil Engineering questions Dear Mr./Ms. (Name). Now. Sincerely.3299 * http://careers. Mr. Medford. I would appreciate an opportunity to follow-up with you at your convenience to get some ideas on how to best prepare and market myself for an entry-level position in investment management. 7th Floor. I’m a first year student at Tufts and I found your name in the Tufts Career Advisory Network where I was looking for civil engineers. One of the counselors in Career Services suggested that I email alumni and conduct short interviews to explore possible majors and careers. Thank you for being part of Tufts CAN.