Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Networking and Informational Interviews

You may have heard that networking is more important than ever and wondering why. During a difficult job market, it is essential to stay connected and build your connections. More importantly, networking is the number one way you will find your next job or internship. The next time a company has an opening for a full-time position or internship, the first thing that most hiring managers will do is ask their colleagues if they know of anyone who is looking for an opportunity. If you just recently networked, YOU are that someone who is looking and they will hopefully think of you, share the opportunity with you, and potentially consider you for an interview.

Young professionals often network for a variety of reasons and discover information about:
An industry/field and a specific company/organization
How to gain access to the "hidden" job market
Guidance and advice and to expand your network
How to learn updated information regarding how a company recruits
How to help contacts know what you want to do and how they can help
How to build your connections

Networking is simply establishing a link with another person and fortunately, people like to talk about themselves and most people enjoy giving guidance and advice.  Other professionals want to help you with your internship/job search, they just don't know how.  Networking is the perfect way that they can help. You can initiate the process by setting up networking meetings (aka informational interviews). You can start things off by reaching out to a known connection (a friend, colleague, professor, coach, family member, friend of a friend, etc.) and asking if they have 15-20 minutes to speak with you and share information about their own career path and any advice they would have for young professionals. After your meeting, you can connect with them via LinkedIn and ask if they have anyone in their network who they would be comfortable introducing you to and you can then reach out to establish a new connection - and the process of growing your network continues.

Sometimes these types of informal networking meetings happen on the job, in an airport, in a coffee shop, etc. Given the unique circumstances we find ourselves in at the moment, some of the face to face networking opportunities will not happen organically. You can take initiative to outreach to set up these meetings via phone or zoom. At Hofstra University, the Center for Career Design and Development created a brand new online networking program, Network with Pride. Each Wednesday at 12:15pm EST, you can join a networking meeting via zoom and meet with professionals from a variety of industries to learn about their career path, tips/advice that they have for Hofstra students and alumni, and you can ask specific questions. Check Handshake for dates/times.

Set a goal to participate in at least 1-3 networking meetings a semester and you will be well on your way to building your connections. Each time you make a new connection, you build your network and position yourself for the next internship or job. 


Jenna Campolieta
External Relations Coordinator | The Center for Career Design and Development

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