Networking is an important part of the job search process because most jobs are discovered through personal communication rather than traditional postings. It may seem overwhelming to think about networking, especially when life is busy, but building your network does not necessarily mean you have to attend large social functions or continuously meet with potential employers.
In fact, many people do not even realize that they network on a daily basis. Are you in contact with professionals in your field of interest at your job, at your internship, or during social events on the weekends? Do you keep in touch with faculty, employers, or peers from your undergraduate or previous professional career? Most likely, yes. These contacts may be helpful as you enter the job market. It is important to be aware of your growing network and utilize this important resource.
Informational interviewing is a form of interviewing that is initiated by the job-seeker. The desired result is not to obtain a job but rather to gather as much knowledge as possible about the market in which you are entering. Therefore the job-seeker will ask questions to find out more about a particular job, the necessary credentials or skills for such a position, and other information that will provide additional insight during the job search. Interviews are brief, lasting about 10 to 15 minutes.
Be sure to send a thank-you note immediately after the interview, as the employers/social workers you speak with are generously taking time out of their busy days for you. Informational interviewing is an excellent form of networking because the people you interview will often connect you with additional contacts or provide you with job leads.
Informational interviewing sample questions:
University of Michigan
School of Social Work
1080 South University Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106