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Career Development Center

» Networking

Networking can be as simple as handing someone a contact card or as involved as joining committees, clubs and organizations.  Regardless of how you do it, networking is definitely one of the most important steps when it comes to kick-starting your career.  

+ - Networking Basics

Networking is a process that has multiple uses and advantages, such as:

  • Obtaining valuable advice and support
  • Access to insider information about companies/jobs before advertised
  • Connecting with people and cultivating relationships
  • Assisting you with navigating the job search process
  • Exchanging information, resources and support to create mutually beneficial relationships for personal and professional use

Networking is NOT asking for a job or USING people.  Students often hesitate to network because they feel awkward asking for help but it is a very important part of any job search.

Why network?

It is estimated that 60-80% if jobs available are filled by people who have a connection with the company.  One of your most important job search strategies should incorporate making connections with people in your field as well as maintaining connections.

Determine Your Networking Goals

What do you want to accomplish:   gain general information, learn about unadvertised jobs, get referrals, cultivate references, enter a new career field, build new skills, etc.

How to Identify People

  • Networking opportunities can happen intentionally or accidentally. Develop a contact list. 
  • Faculty/ staff
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Neighbors/ community
  • Employers/ co-workers
  • Clubs/organizations
  • Associations

Networking is an opportunity to:

  • Put yourself out there!
  • Develop good listening skills
  • Practice,  practice,  practice your interviewing skills
  • Be honest, tactful, ethical
  • Gain insight into the career & profession you are interested in
  • Practice your Spintro (NEED EXPLANATION)
  • Gain resume input

Networking Mistakes include:

  • Networking is not all about “schmoosing”
  • It is not about  manipulating people to get hired
  • Networking is about achieving visibility
  • It is not a quick fix- takes time
  • Having a poor handshake

+ - Find Networking Contacts

This section has simple suggestions to help you can do to build your network using people you already know. As you meet people throughout your academic and professional career, make sure to make connections by exchanging information. 


For the purpose of exchanging information in the job search, you can start with people you already know. Everyone has their own circle of friends and relatives. Someone in that circle may be able to provide you with needed information or refer you to someone in the field you need information about. Develop a method to keep track of who refers you to whom, and the dates of those referrals. In the beginning it will seem easy; however, the more people you talk to, the more complicated it becomes. 

  • friends and relatives
  • families of friends; friends of relatives
  • relatives of friends
  • previous and current employers/supervisors
  • colleagues from previous jobs
  • neighbors
  • alumni who majored in your field or the field you’re trying to enter
  • college classmates (inside or outside your major)
  • fraternity/sorority members
  • employers who visit campus for career fairs or information tables
  • high school classmates
  • faculty in your major, or those with whom you developed rapport
  • administrators from campus with whom you worked or collaborated
  • sports partners
  • members of your service or professional or religious affiliation associations


Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn or start your own blog. Make sure anything you use when networking for your career is kept clean and professional (you could make one for personal use and one for business) and keep your profiles up to date by checking them often. You can also add us on the social pages below to get updates and exclusive information regarding career opportunities and events.

+ - Informational Interviewing

An informational interview is an informal conversation with someone working in an area that interests you who will give you information and advice. It is an effective research tool in addition to reading books, exploring the Internet and examining job descriptions. It is not a job interview, and the objective is not to find job openings.


  • Get firsthand, relevant information about the realities of working in a field, industry or position.
  • Find out about career paths you did not know existed.
  • Discover what others with your same major are doing in their careers.
  • Get tips about how to prepare for and enter a given career.
  • Improve your communication skills and confidence speaking with professionals.
  • Learn what it’s like to work at a specific organization.
  • Gain knowledge that can help you in resume writing, interviewing, and other job search activities.
  • Expand your network of contacts in a specific career field


1. Research Career Fields

2. Identify people to interview

  • Pursue your own contacts. This includes family, friends, professors and former employers.
  • Use LinkedIn – contact alum
  • Attend events on campus where guest lecturers are speaking (check Dean Price’s Monday emails, Chapman University Weekly Update emails, & sign up for the CDC newsletter)
  •  Become a student member of a professional or trade associations

3. Prepare for the interview

  • Develop your Spintro! Include your reasons for contacting that person, as a way to introduce yourself and define the context of the meeting
  • Plan open-ended questions to ask

4. Initiate contact                                                                        

  • Contact the person by email or message on LinkedIn
  • Mention how you got his or her name
  • Ask whether it’s a good time to talk for a few minutes
  • Emphasize that you are looking for information, not a job
  • Ask for a convenient time to have a 15-20 minute appointment (ask to meet for coffee)
  • Be ready to ask questions on the spot if the person says it is a good time for him/her

Sample Telephone Script Requesting an Informational Interview

Hello. My name is ______ and I'm a junior majoring in English at Chapman University. Is this a good time for you to talk briefly? I heard you speak at an event sponsored by ________ last week. Although I am not currently looking for a job, I have become very interested in public relations and would like to find out as much as I can about the field. Would it be possible to schedule 15 to 20 minutes with you at your convenience to ask you a few questions and get your advice on how best to prepare to enter the field?

5. Conduct the informational interview

  • Dress neatly and appropriately, as you would for a job interview
  • Arrive on time or a few minutes early
  • Restate that your objective is to get information and advice, not a job
  • Give a brief overview of yourself and your education and/or work background (Spintro)
  • Be prepared to direct the interview, but let the conversation flow naturally, and encourage the interviewee to do most of the talking
  • Listen well and show genuine interest in what the person has to say
  • Take notes if you'd like
  • Respect the person's time; keep the appointment length within the time span that you requested.
  • Ask the person if you may contact him or her again in the future with other questions
  • Always ask for names of other people to talk to for additional information or a different perspective

Note: You can bring a resume, but don’t take it out right away or lead with questions about it or your interviewee may think you’re actually fishing for a job opportunity. You may wish to ask for input about it at some point in the interview, but first make sure you’ve established a comfortable rapport with the person.

6. Follow-up

  • Keep records; after the interview write down what you learned, what more you'd like to know and your reactions in terms of how this industry, field or position would "fit" with your lifestyle, interests, skills and future career plans
  • Send a thank-you note within 1-2 days to express your appreciation for the time and information given. Based on whether the informational interview was relatively informal or more businesslike, this may be a brief handwritten note, an email, or a business letter
  • Keep in touch with the person via LinkedIn or email, especially if you had a particularly nice interaction; let him/her know that you followed up on advice and how things are going as a result

Sample Informational Interview Questions:


¨  What is a day on this job really like?

¨  How did you get into this field?

¨  How do you stay current in your knowledge?

¨  What do you like about your job? Dislike?

¨  Is your job typical of others in this field?

¨  What kinds of problems do you deal with?

¨  What kinds of decisions do you make?

¨  What are your main responsibilities as a...?

¨  How does your position fit within the organization/career field/industry?

¨  How does your job affect your general lifestyle?

¨  How did you begin your career?

¨  What's the corporate culture like here? (hours, salary, titles)

¨  If you could do it all over again, would you choose the same path? If not, what would you change?

¨  What advice would you give someone who is considering this type of job (or field)?



¨  What are employers looking for? (skills, education, experience)

¨  What kind of experience or training is required?

¨  What are current job prospects like?

¨  What's the best way to find out about jobs in this field?

¨  May I have a copy of a job description?

¨  Can you refer me to someone else in this field?

¨  Are there related fields I might want to look into if few jobs are available in my primary career goal?

¨  What makes a resume impressive in your field?

¨  Is my resume appropriate for this occupation?

¨  What steps would you recommend I take to prepare to enter this field?

¨  What is the profile of the person most recently hired at my level?

¨  What kind of education, training, or background does your job require?

¨  What skills, abilities, and personal attributes are essential to success in your job/this field?



¨  How relevant to your work is your undergraduate major?

¨  Which firms do you think are your toughest competitors, and how do they differ from your company?

¨  What is the potential for advancement?

¨  How do you normally hire for this occupation?

¨  What current issues and trends in the field should I know about/be aware of?

¨  What are the future trends for this field?  

¨  What are some common career paths in this field?

¨  What kinds of accomplishments tend to be valued and rewarded in this field?

¨  How do most people get into this field? What are common entry-level jobs?

¨  I’ve read that the entry-level salary range for this field is usually in the range of ______? Does this fit with what you’ve seen? (Don’t ask about the person’s actual salary.)

¨  What are the most effective strategies for seeking a position in this field?

¨  Can you recommend trade journals, magazines or professional associations which would be helpful for my professional development?

+ - Connect with a Panther

Chapman University has a huge growing network of alumni. Alumni of Chapman University are employed all over the country everywhere from small entrepreneur startups to huge fortune 500 companies. Getting connected with this massive network can lead to jobs and internships all over the world. Follow this link to the Chapman Alumni Network Webpage. 

+ - Career Connex Text Service

Career Connex is a service provided by the Career Development Center to keep you updated on exclusive events, career opportunities and giveaways. The CDC selects their event text blasts very carefully and makes sure to only send info out about opportunities that are important and exclusive. We respect your mobile privacy and do not share any of your information.  

To join Career Connex for FREE:

Text  the letters “CDC” to the phone number 25827.

You will receive a welcome text and be signed up to receive exclusive events and opportunities texted straight to your cell phone.

You can stop our texts at any time by texting back STOP.


+ - LinkedIn Training Videos


Top Five Profile To-Do's

+ - Biz Cardz Program

One of the most important aspects of networking is exchanging information. Having personal contact cards (or business cards) is a clean, professional way to share your information with industry contacts or potential employers. Because having customized cards made can be expensive, the Career Development Center has created a program to help.

Biz Cards is a program that allows you to have customized cards made with your contact information printed on them, all at an affordable price. To help you on your career journey, the CDC pays for a portion of the printing for you cards, resulting in an incredibly low price. You can get 100 cards for as little as $15.00! These cards do NOT have a brand advertisement on them like other printing companies that offer inexpensive cards. You can chose from over 20 different templates and even incorporate your own logo. 


100 cards - $15.00

250 cards - $16.00

500 cards - $18.00

Get Started:

Look at the template options » 

Fill out your order form & purchase online »

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