Networking

Networking is a process of building relationships, which will continue throughout your career.

Take the time to:

  • Learn more about your field
  • Clarify your job target/skills
  • Make contacts at companies where a position may exist
  • Find a career mentor to provide advice through your different career stages

Grow your network through:

  • Family
  • School
  • Friends
  • Athletics/Recreation
  • Clubs/Organizations
  • Past Employers

Network with Alumni

RIT alumni are ready and willing to help you.

  • RIT seniors can join the Alumni Network and connect with more than 90,000 RIT alumni from around the world.
  • Attend some of the major RIT events on campus to connect with alumni and look out for the Tiger Sticker on alumni at Career Fairs.
  • The RIT LinkedIn page gives you the opportunity to gain career insights from more than 100,000 alumni. Filter by where they live, where they work, what they do, what they studied, and what they are skilled at.

Informational Interviewing

The purpose of informational interviewing is not to get a job, but to talk with professionals about their careers or areas of expertise. It is a very helpful way of gaining insider knowledge about an occupation or potential employer. Easily set up a 20-30 minute interview by reaching out to alumni or contacts at the company through LinkedIn.

“I am Mary Careersearcher, a first-year RIT student. I found your name in the RIT Professional Network database and I am very interested in learning more about the type of work that you do.”

Prepare for the interview by:

  • Knowing the area of work you’re interested in and your skills
  • Researching the organization or career field
  • Creating sample questions on the industry, work environment, career challenges, etc.

It’s important to treat this networking opportunity as a real interview by dressing professionally, arriving early, and sending a thank-you note after the informational interview.

Informational Interview Tips

Introduce yourself by phone or email, mentioning your mutual connection or referral source, if you have one. Schedule a 20-30 minute appointment, preferably in person, at their convenience. If it is not possible to meet in person, ask for an opportunity to speak by phone or Skype, or even to ask some questions by email.

Choose questions that are relevant to you and your situation, or create your own questions. Typically you would plan to ask no more than 10 questions in an interview.

  • Tell me how you got started in this field.  What educational background or related experiences might be helpful in entering this field?
  • What are the daily duties of your job? What are the working conditions? What skills/abilities are utilized in your field?
  • What are the toughest issues you deal with at work? What challenges does the industry as a whole have? What is being done to solve these issues?
  • What do you find most rewarding about your work?
  • How does one move from position to position? Do people normally move to another company/division/agency? What is your policy about promotions from within?  How are employees evaluated?
  • What trends do you see for this industry and/or organization in the next 3 to 5 years?
  • What advice would you give to someone interested in a job like yours?  When the time comes, how would I go about finding a job in this field? What experience, paid or volunteer, would you recommend? What suggestions do you have to help make my resume more effective?
  • What is the job outlook for this occupation? What other types of employers hire people in this line of work? Where are they located?
  • What are the most important factors used to hire people in this field (education, past experience, personality, special skills)? Who makes the hiring decisions for your department?
  • Based on our conversation today, what other types of people do you believe I should talk to? Can you name a few of these people? May I have permission to use your name when I contact them?

Get to your appointment a few minutes early and be courteous to everyone that you meet. Dress as if this were an actual job interview as first impressions matter. Do not exceed your requested time, but be prepared to stay longer if the contact indicates a willingness to talk longer or to give you a tour of the workplace.

Once inside the organization, be very observant. What kind of working environment is present-dress, style, communication patterns, sense of humor, etc.? Is this a place you could envision working? If you are interested, could you set up a longer shadowing experience at this workplace?

Send a thank-you email expressing your appreciation to your contact for their time and interest. This should be sent within a day or two of your appointment.

Evaluate your experience and the information that you gathered. What did you learn about the field? Are you more or less interested as a result of what you found out? Is there information that you still want to learn? How might you find that information? Are there things that you would improve upon or do differently in another interview?

Follow-up with referrals for additional informational interviews. Hopefully, this has been a very valuable experience and you have learned an important tool for networking and information gathering.