Although you should always use every job search resource available, networking
will expose you to the largest number of job opportunities in the shortest
length of time. Because 75-80% of the job openings are never advertised
anywhere, the key to finding a good job is networking! And since networking
takes time you should begin developing your professional network as early as
possible in your college career. Networking involves building and keeping
relationships and it should be beneficial to both parties.
On this page you will find information about:
Developing Professional Networks While In College
Get work experience while in college! Even short-term and volunteer work
experience, as well as internships and co-ops and summer jobs, are valued by
employers. These work experiences allow you to network with professionals in
Attend the ISU Volunteer Fair. You will find many organizations that could use
your assistance at the fair. You will learn many skills while volunteering that
will transfer to your job. In addition you will get to know volunteers from many
career areas who may help you secure a job later.
Students interested in internships and co-ops should contact the Career Center
in the Student Services Building, second floor (just above the Health Center).
Counselors in the Career Center can assist in your search for a good internship.
The Career Center receives many notices of internships from organizations
throughout the U.S. Stay in contact with the people you met through your
internships and co-ops. They could be good contacts for your future job
Career Fairs are another good way to make contacts. They allow you to meet a lot
of people in a short period of time.
Attend ISU Career
Fairs: Career Opportunity Fair (Fall and Spring semesters), Criminology Fair
Career Fairs are also hosted by large organizations, cities, other colleges,
professional organizations, and professional career fair organizations.
- Research employers who are attending the Career Fair.
- Dress professionally.
- Bring resumes to share with employers.
- Ask employers appropriate questions.
- Collect business cards. (Write notes on the back to help remember things about
- Send thank-you notes.
- Follow-up with a telephone call to the people you meet at these career
Activities that you participate in outside of the classroom are an excellent way
to explore career interests, develop skills, and begin building a network. Clubs
and organizations are a good way to make contacts. In the areas of recreation,
sports, fitness, and physical education participation in clubs, organizations,
and recreational activities is particularly important. Not only are they a good
source of contacts, but employers will expect to see these things on your
For a list of ISU clubs and organizations contact the
ISU Office of Student
Activities and Organizations.
Join Professional Associations in your field while you are in college. They are
one of the best ways to get to know people employed in your field.
GET INVOLVED so that professionals in the associations know who you are.
Talk with your professors to find out what professional associations would be
best for you to join.
A great way to become involved with professional associations is to attend local
regional, and/or national meetings as often as possible.
Take full advantage of your time at meetings.
Here are some tips:
- Arrive early and attend a newcomer's session.
- Join a committee.
- Give a presentation.
- Assist with the newsletter (to keep your name in front of colleagues in your
- Attend hospitality sessions.
- Have lunch and dinner with people you don’t know rather then with friends.
- Bring plenty of business cards.
- Obtain business cards and record information about the person on the back for
- Attend workshops and clinics in your field.
- Attend sessions and ask questions.
Make a list of the people you know and let them know that you are graduating and
make them aware of the type of work you are seeking. Most people want to help.
The news about most jobs is spread by word of mouth among:
- College classmates
- Alumni (stay in contact with friends in your major who graduate.)
- Faculty - high school and college
- Colleagues at work
- Professional Association acquaintances
- People from social organizations
- Church members
- Career Counselors
Establish a connection with people who work for the companies/organizations that
interest you most. Ask them for advice and ask them to tell you if they hear of
a job opening in your field. However, do not assume that they know your
qualifications. Give them a copy of your resume.
Be clear about what you want them to do for you:
- Distribute your resume; your business card
- Give you the names of key people at targeted organizations
- Introduce you to someone in a position to give you an "inside track"
- Give you advice on how to approach a specific employer
Be sure to visit any employers they suggest, even if they do not have any
Make a list of companies/organizations in which you are interested and the names
of people that have the power to hire. Be sure to research these organizations
well before you do an informational interview.
Prepare for your informational interview by developing a well-written resume.
- Learn as much as possible about the organization before the interview. Find out
the names of the persons who can hire in your field - managers, directors, and
- Learn as much as possible about the person you will interview.
- Learn the professional jargon in your field.
- Ask questions which show that you did your research.
- Develop a list of questions that you want to ask.
- Dress as you would for a job interview.
- Make sure you have accurate directions to the place where the interview will be
Arranging Informational Interviews
Informational interviewing is an excellent way to learn about organizations,
typical positions, and to develop contacts for your future job search. This
leads to a job for 86 out of every 100 job hunters who try it.*
- Contact the people who do the hiring - department heads, managers, and directors
rather than personnel.
- Write a letter to make an appointment for an interview, to obtain job
information, advice, and referrals. Be sure to tell the person you want to
interview the name of the person who referred you.
- Follow the letter with a phone call to schedule an appointment.
*Richard Bolles in What Color is Your Parachute?
Sample Questions From An Informational Interview
- How did you find out about this job?
- What do you like most/least about your job? Why?
- If you were starting over what would you do differently?
- To which professional organizations do you belong?
- Where are the best job opportunities with this field?
- If I enter this field, what can I do to make myself more marketable?
- What criteria do you use to evaluate a candidate when interviewing someone in
- What are the trends in this field and how does the future look for this field?
- What can I do to improve my resume?
- Can you suggest names of people that I should contact to get additional
information about this field? How can I contact them? (Always ask if you can use
your referral's name.)
- What might be the best way to approach prospective employers?
- Is there anything I can do for you? (Remember networking is a two-way street.)
Organizing Your Job Search
Maintain detailed records of each networking contact. Be sure to keep track of
the following information:
Date of Contact ___________________
Any Extra Notes: ___________________
Networking Etiquette Workshops (NEW)
Learn essential skills for developing your professional network and dining in
formal situations. Participants have the opportunity to network with
professionals in a variety of fields throughout the workshop and five-course
meal, providing excellent preparation for professional conferences and
The ISU Career Center hosts several Networking & Etiquette Workshops each
semester. These workshops are intended to help you learn how to effectively
develop your professional network and the all-important skills of dining in
The skills students learn through these workshops are valuable for social and
professional situations, however specific tips are provided to prepare
participants for that first interview or professional conference.