Networking Guide

“One out of every 200 résumés results in a job offer. One out of every 12 informational interviews, however, results in a job offer.”
- Quintessential Careers

Networking How-To Guide

Organize Your Networking

  • Start by identifying your networking goals. Determine what type of connections you want to make, what industries or companies you are interested in, and what you hope to achieve through networking.
  • Organize your networking and develop your strategy. Keep a spreadsheet of your connections to record their contact information, company, the date where you two connected, and any follow-up actions you need to take.

Get a Sample Spreadsheet

Set Up a Conversation

If you are reaching out to people via online platforms, draft a thoughtful direct message before to connect with them. In your message, include:

  • Who you are (name, degree, interest, etc)
  • Where you find the person’s contact
  • Your purpose of this conversation
  • Ask for 20-30 minutes chat

Prepare For a Conversation

  • Learn about the person’s career trajectory & prepare specific questions
  • Learn about the organization culture, projects, and team, etc.

  • Give a brief overview of your education/work background
  • Summarize your interests and skills
  • Specify your reasons for reaching out

Sample questions:

  • "What kinds of projects do you work on?"
  • "What led you to this position?"
  • "What do you like most and least about your work?"
  • "What are the personal qualities of people who are successful in this field?"
  • "How would you describe a typical week in terms of the percentage of time spent on the different aspects of your job?"
  • "What kinds of backgrounds do people in this organization (field) have?"

During the Interview

  • Dress neatly and appropriately, as you would for a job interview.
  • Listen well and show genuine interest in what the person has to say.
  • Be prepared to direct the interview, but also let the conversation flow naturally.
  • Let the other person talk most of the time.
  • Ask the person if you may contact them again in the future with other questions.
  • Ask for names of other people to meet.

After the Conversation

  • Keep records of the conversation
  • Send a thank you note within 24 hours
  • Connect with them on LinkedIn

Dear XXX,

  • Express your gratitude for their time
  • Reiterate your interest in a specific discussion topic or your takeaway from this conversation
  • Highlight your skills that are relevant to the industry or organization and offer your help
  • Close the email by talking about staying in touch
Sincerely,  Your Name

Maintain a Long-Term Relationship

  • Check in with your contacts two to four times a year
  • Introduce new information about yourself: update with them about your progress
  • Introduce new information about your contact: congratulate them on their achievements
  • Give the person an action item: ask questions, or initiate collaboration
  • Offer something of value

Next Steps?

Schedule an Appointment

Discuss your concerns, questions, or findings with a career advisor.

Start Here →

Start Networking

Utilize the tools and attend events to start networking with employers and alumni.

Start Here →

Get Organized

Create a spreadsheet to keep track of your networking progress.

Start Here →