All Careers | Networking for Success
Why Build a Network?
Connecting with professionals in your field helps you build relationships with others who share similar interests. Building a network allows you to get advice from other professionals working in a position or field that interests you and to learn about the “hidden job market” to find jobs that may never be publicly advertised. Building a network is also a great way to identify possible mentors and seek more insight into a career field.
How to Build your Network
You often meet new people at work, in school, in your community, and even online. These opportunities can happen all the time, and you should be open to them! The following are examples of different locations you can meet professionals and fellow trainees in your field For more specifics on how to expand and cultivate your professional network, see our detailed PDF.
Conferences are great chance for you to meet others in your discipline. Even if their company is not currently hiring, getting to know them allows them to remember your name in the future or share your information with others in the field who are looking to hire.
Looking to get the “inside scoop” on a career or job you are interested in? Then consider conducting an informational interview with a professional in a field that interests you. Informational interviews give you the opportunity to learn more about a field or specific job or company and promote yourself in a positive, low-stakes situation. Informational interviews may even lead to job interviews! Informational interviews can be beneficial at all stages of your job search, from career exploration to job preparation, and potentially application.
View a list of common questions you may want to ask. (PDF)
Employers will most likely “google” you at some point, and you want to make sure that you have a professional internet presence on LinkedIn (Check out our LinkedIn guidelines here!). Social media platforms, such as blogs and Twitter, are also great ways to build and maintain your network.
Memberships in organizations can keep you updated on current events and job openings. They also serve to connect you with prominent professionals in your area or field.
Use your Current Network Connections
Your program faculty and alumni are excellent sources of knowledge for a wide range of professions.
Nature Blogs: Skills for Your Next Networking Adventure
Forbes: How to Network more Effectively
How to ask for an Informational Interview
ImaginePhD has a good resource relevant to all PhDs on the informational interview and sample questions to ask (Sign up for free)