- How can I prepare?
- Where can I find suitable contacts?
- How can I get started with LinkedIn?
- What types of questions should I prepare?
Hiatt’s networking requirements
Before you can join Hiatt's LinkedIn group, search alumni on CAN, or submit a Wisdom Wanted ad, you must:
1. Read, sign and return Hiatt's social responsibility and integrity contract.
2. Watch this online workshop and answer the quiz correctly.
Identify short-term and long-term goals
To make your networking encounters as beneficial as possible for both you and your networking contact, Hiatt encourages you to set both short and long-term goals for your professional relationships and individual conversations. Please know that these will change and adapt as you move forward in your career and acquire additional expertise. To get you thinking about your own networking goals, here are a few examples of both broad and specific goals and how networking can help achieve them.
Goal: Figure out what I want to do with my life.
How networking can help: Refine your interests, evaluate fit and match your values to career opportunities.
Goal: Find out if I’m qualified for a specific job/internship.
How networking can help: Talk to an employee who works at an organization of interest who can talk to you about the role and what type of candidate they seek.
Goal: Determine if I will fit in at a particular company.
How networking can help: Hear about your networking contact’s personal experiences at the company, which would enhance what you can learn from a company website.
Goal: Become a more impressive interviewer.
How networking can help: A clearer perspective of the culture within an industry or organization can help you determine what skills are required and how you might best showcase those skills in an interview. Plus getting comfortable speaking to professionals during informational interviews will help you to display more confidence during a real interview.
Goal: Land a job or internship.
How networking can help: Did you know that 70% of people land their jobs through networking?
Goal: Expand my circle of professionals.
How networking can help: Networking can help you develop a network of contacts that may be helpful in the future. Meet future acquaintances, references, allies.
Goal: Become a more attractive candidate for a job/internship application.
How networking can help: Get information to put in your cover letter because you will identify skills and experiences of successful professionals. Learn industry trends and professional vocabulary from practitioners.
Goal: Decide between several career options.
How networking can help: First-hand, up-to-date, and industry-specific information will provide a more thorough understanding of a field, beyond what you may have ascertained through course work or other outside research. Plus, you’ll get exposure to a variety of job titles, personalities, and departments, making the search for your "niche" that much easier.
Networking contacts are everywhere. Some contacts will be people you know well, such as family and friends with whom you can interact with ease – you are already networking! With others, such as alumni, former employers or family members of peers, your interactions will be more formal, in particular if you are meeting them for the first time or if you know them only in professional settings. Use this brainstorming worksheet to identify potential networking contacts in your circle.
Note: Please do not get discouraged if you contact someone and do not hear back from him or her. Even the kindest, most well intentioned people can get caught during a busy time of the year, a crisis or day-to-day craziness. Please know that someone’s failure to respond is not necessarily a negative reflection on you.
You will continue to make new contacts naturally throughout your time at Brandeis and beyond as you: attend events, join student clubs, take new classes, get new jobs and internships, and more. You can also proactively identify additional contacts by using these two online tools: B Careers and LinkedIn.
Coming Soon! B Careers
B Careers is a searchable Brandeis-only database with thousands of Brandeis alumni who are willing to talk with Brandeis students about their careers. Brandeis seniors will be able to use B Careers to search for alumni who work in companies, fields and job functions of interest to you, then contact them for more information. To gain access to the database, you must complete Hiatt’s networking requirements.
Commonly referred to as the “professional Facebook,” LinkedIn is a professional networking site that allows you to identify and connect with potential networking contacts, research companies, and join professional interest groups. Watch this video from the LinkedIn Learning Center to find out how you can use LinkedIn to grow your professional network.
Learn more about LinkedIn and building your professional network by watching these videos from the LinkedIn Learning Center:
- Get Started with LinkedIn: What is LinkedIn and why should you join?
- Build Your Professional Brand: What do people see when they Google you?
- Find Your Career Passion: What do you want to be when you grow up?
- Turn Relationships Into Opportunities: Can networking really help you get a job?
- Nail the Interview: How can you sound like you know what you’re talking about?
First impressions are important and your LinkedIn profile is often the first link that appears in a Google search for your name. Make sure your online presence matches the quality of your resume. Uploading your most current resume to your LinkedIn profile is a great place to start, but Hiatt can suggest other ways to make your profile more compelling to potential networking contacts and employers. Stop by during drop-in hours or log into HiattChat for tips and advice to polish up your LinkedIn profile.
At minimum, your LinkedIn profile should include:
- An appropriate photo
- A summary of who you are and why you’re on LinkedIn
- A listing of your past experiences with detailed descriptions
- Brandeis is listed in your education section with your major course of study (if declared)
- These tips from LinkedIn can help you get started
Research: industry, job function, employer, contact
It is very important to prepare for networking conversations by learning as much as you can on your own about the industry, job function or employer of interest as well as the person with whom you will be speaking. Learn more about conducting industry, job and company research.
If you already know with whom you are meeting, be sure to visit the contact’s company website, search for the contact’s name online, and review the contact’s LinkedIn profile.
Now that you have set concrete goals for the conversation and know more about the industry, job function, employer and contact, you should be able to prepare a list of thoughtful, relevant questions to ask your contact. Unlike a traditional interview, YOU will be asking the majority of the questions in a networking interaction so it is important to craft them in advance. You should expect to have about 10-15 questions ready to ask for a half hour conversation. You may not get to ask them all, or others may arise during the conversation itself, but at least you will be prepared if the person provides only short answers. For a place to start, check out these sample networking questions.