Yale Undegraduate Career Services

Networking

What Is Networking?

It’s building, creating and nurturing professional connections and relationships. It enables you to learn about different industries, careers, organizations and, at times, job opportunities. It is not simply acquiring business cards and adding names to your “LinkedIn” account – it is taking the time to getting to know people in the areas in which you are interested and staying in touch with them throughout your career.

Why Network?

Networking is considered the most effective way of finding a job – particularly in challenging economic times.  Through networking you can uncover job opportunities that might not yet – or never - be posted on job-sites, or create an opportunity that did not previously exist.

How Do You Network?

Prepare

The Art of Networking and Relationship Building Workshop

This presentation provides networking and relationship building tips to Yale College students seeking internships and jobs. Watch the presentation.

  
Mastering Employer Events

Mastering Employer Events Workshop

This presentation provides advice to applicants for successfully navigating employer receptions, career fairs, and informational interviews. Watch the presentation.

Take Action

  • There are a number of domestic cities that host events throughout the summer, allowing students who are in those areas to participate and to engage with Yale alumni and other students.  To learn more about those cities and to reach out to alumni, click here.

Tips

  • Clarify your interests and skills so that you can articulate who you are and why you are contacting this person. Is it to find out about the industry in which this person works? About the organization at which this person works? About the specific job this person has? About the city in which this person works?
  • Identify organizations and companies that are of interest to you:

    Undergraduate Students:  Click here for a thorough list of industries and relevant resources.

    Graduate Students:  Click here for a thorough list of industries and relevant resources.

  • Look for individuals who work at these organizations and companies to contact. You may know people through your own network – i.e. friends, family, colleagues, former colleagues, former professors, classmates, etc. Or you may need to do more research to indentify people to contact. Use the Yale Career Network, an online alumni networking database, to see if there are Yale alumni working at your target organizations. Students and Alumni of Yale (STAY) brings together Yale undergraduates, graduate and professional school students, and alumni through service, mentorship, and social activities. Alumni provide the wisdom of educational, job, and life experience. Graduate and professional students offer career guidance to college students and energy to alumni. Undergraduates inject a fresh perspective and enthusiasm. You can also use professional networking sites, such as LinkedIn, to identify individuals.
  • Make contact. Send a brief email introducing yourself and requesting a time to talk (either over the phone or in-person –which is sometimes referred to as an “informational interview”.  After you’ve set up a convenient time to talk, prepare some questions that you’d like answered by this individual.  
  • Speak with networking contact – either over the phone or in person. Ask questions relevant to the information you want to find out, (i.e. how did you find your job, what do you like most about it, what advice to you have for someone looking to get into the field, etc). Listen carefully to the answers and take notes. If you chat over the phone, be sure that you call from a place where you won’t be interrupted and where you’ll be able to hear the person on the other line (a busy Starbucks is not a good idea! ). At the end of your conversation, ask if there are others who they might suggest you talk with (and try to get a phone number or email address) and whether you can use their name when as the person who made the referral.
  • Thank them. Be sure to send a thank-you email to everyone you meet with – even if it’s someone you already know.  Let them know that you appreciate their suggestions and plan to take action on them. And then be sure to keep your contacts informed as you follow up on their advice. For example, if Joan suggested that you meet with Robert, be sure to send Joan an email after you’ve met with Robert thanking her again and letting her know how the meeting went. And if your networking leads to a job, be sure to let everyone with whom you’ve networked know where you are working and how to get in touch with you.
  • Stay in touch. Keep in contact with those you’ve met. If you come across an appropriate article – email it. Send a holiday card. Don’t let the contact get stale, as you never know when you might next need to call on those in your network. Remember: A strong network is a key to a successful career. 

Sample informational interview questions:

  • About the field: Are there any groups or professional organizations that I could become involved with? What publications would you suggest I read? What do you think are the biggest challenges in this area? Who do you think are the top organizations in the field and why?
  • About the job search: Is my resume in the right format for this industry? What do people in this industry typically look for in a ________? What types of people do well in this field? Do you have any suggestions for how to find a job in this industry?
  • Referral to others: You have been very helpful today. Can you think of anybody else that I could talk with who might be helpful? May I tell them you referred me to them?

Things to Remember

  • Dress appropriately
  • Be on time
  • Be considerate of the other person’s time
  • Be courteous and gracious
  • Thank the person for their time

Summary 

  • Know what you want to learn from the contact. Don’t look to others to tell you what you can research on your own.
  • Listen carefully and take good notes
  • Ask for referrals and permission to use their name
  • Be patient – meetings may be cancelled several times.
  • Relationships are built over time – not in one interaction. Be sure to stay in touch.