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Networking & Informational Interviewing

Networking is an important career development skill worth building. In its simplest form, networking involves having a “career conversation” with someone to gather and share information. 

When utilized appropriately, networking with your contacts can help you:

  • Explore careers and jobs - By talking to professionals in informational interviews, you can ask questions to learn about a job, career field, industry, or workplace to help you determine its degree of "fit" for you.

  • Find a job - When looking for jobs, you can use networking to find out about opportunities (even some that haven't been posted yet) and market yourself to people who may be able to help you in your search. By talking to people about your qualifications, as well as your positions and employers of interest, and asking questions, you may learn about job leads and other resources that you wouldn't find elsewhere.

Where do you find people to network with? All around you! Because networking involves simply sharing information about careers and jobs, you can network with other students, family friends, professors, supervisors, and professionals you meet at career fairs or other events. You can also use LinkedIn, the online professional networking website, as well as the Berkeley Career Network (BCN), to find professionals in your areas of interest.

Surveys of employers consistently indicate that over 50% of all open positions are filled through networking! So begin to develop your networking skills - you will gain a valuable tool that will serve you throughout your career life.

Helpful Links

Introducing Yourself

Check out Connecting on LinkedIn: The 5-Point Email for guidance on what to say about yourself when asking for an informational interview.

When asking for a networking meeting or meeting people at an event, be prepared to share these kinds of information:

I am... (name, year in school, major)

“My name is Jamie Li, and I am a junior at Cal majoring in Architecture with a Minor in History of Art.”

I care about...(what motivates you, the sense of purpose that guides your pursuits)

“I am eager to draw on my knowledge of how art and architecture of different periods reflect each other.”

“I want to address homelessness, especially to help people with physical disabilities.”

I can...(what you can do or have done, incorporating skills and knowledge)

"I’ve been involved in Berkeley’s AIAS chapter, with a focus on recruiting new members and planning treks."

"I had an internship at … where I generated drawings for a new residential project and helped create presentation documents for client meetings."

I want...(the kind of organization or setting where you’d like to work; type of work/position you are seeking, responsibilities you want to carry out)

"I am looking for opportunities to apply my passion for community empowerment and capacity building in the most marginalized communities. I would like to advocate for neighborhood-based community improvement through coalition building."

I’d like to know...(a piece of information you are looking for)

"What skills and experience would you say are most important for someone wanting to get their foot in the door at your firm/in this industry?"

"What trends do you think are most important to pay attention to in this industry?"

"What are some of your go-to resources for getting guidance in this field?"

"Is there anyone you would recommend I talk to next? May I mention that you referred me?"