Building Your Career Network
Career Network | Informational Interview | Sample Communications
People are perhaps the most important source of information about new jobs - or for that matter, careers.
Talking to people and learning from their experiences needn't be a formal process or one you practice only when job hunting. There are numerous resources available enabling you to pinpoint the people you'd like to contact.
- Oberlin Alumni are an excellent source of information, and you are guaranteed to have at least one thing in common: Oberlin. An Oberlin Alumni Network is available online through OBIEWeb and via LinkedIn. OBIEWeb is an electronic database containing thousands of alumni profiles, while LinkedIn is a professional social network with more than 7,000 Oberlin alumni. We recommended that you join LinkedIn. To access the network, you must complete a profile and request to join the Oberlin LinkedIn Group (see video How to Use LinkedIn). There is also a group of approximately 100 Oberlin Alumni in Doostang.
- Professors can provide a wealth of information about specific disciplines they have encountered through their research or community involvement. Faculty are also often a good resource for those considering attending graduate school.
- Friends, family, supervisors, co-workers, coaches and acquaintances. Chat with people casually--on a plane or bus, while waiting in lines, at social gatherings, etc. Join a professional organization in your field and get involved. Most people enjoy talking about the work they do. Curiosity can open a lot of doors.
- People you have heard about: lecturers, employers, prominent people in the community, etc.
- Reading trade magazines and newspapers also provides a networking resource. Authors of articles, and those featured in articles, are potential contacts. If you have done a thorough analysis of an article or profile, and convey that knowledge in a letter, you might be surprised by the kind of positive response you get.
In practice, you'll incorporate a great many more people into your efforts than the one person hiring you. In fact, the more people you involve, the better. It is essential for you to develop a network of people who are within your area of interest.