Your Guide to Networking
Networking is the process of gathering and exchanging information with individuals to help focus your career planning. When you network, you are intentionally developing relationships that can help you gain a greater understanding of an industry, career path, or company. While networking is not a readily available source of jobs, the relationships you develop may lead you to a connection that becomes a future job or internship.
What tools can help me network more effectively?
Below, you'll find a series of tools that will help you connect with UVM alums and prospective employers. Remember, you can always come by the Career Center for help practicing your networking pitch!
UVM Connect is an exclusive network for UVM alums and students, this tool connects you with alums working all over the country. From the directory, you can search and reach out to alums who have offered to provide career support in various ways -- such as meeting in person, offering to shadow, sharing industry expertise.
LinkedIn – Alumni Insights Tool allows you to research and reach out to the roughly 75,000 alums on the platform. Search alums by industry, region, and keyword. If you are just getting started on LinkedIn, joining UVM groups on LinkedIn will help you to grow your UVM network.
- Not sure how to reach out to alums or other professional contacts? Check out these Sample Communications using UVM Connect and LinkedIn.
What about informational interviews?
An informational interview is a structured process of networking where you reach out to professionals to learn about career field and gain insights into your job search. You identify people in fields of interest, ask if they’d be willing to talk or meet with you, and arrange a time in which you interview them about their career. You should develop and ask most of the questions.
Here are some steps to get started:
- Know your purpose. Think about what you are hoping to get out of the meetings.
- Identify contacts in your field of interest. Start with your existing network -- friends, family, friends’ siblings and parents, and current and former colleagues. Alums are an invaluable resource; check out UVM Connect and LinkedIn to identify potential contants.
- You have limited time, so plan your questions well. Prepare 5-10 questions to ask. Check out these Sample Networking & Informational Interviewing Questions.
- Be sure to follow up with a thank you message. Don't be shy about keeping in touch afterward.