Networking Strategies and Resources
Have you ever questioned the value of networking or informational interviewing? If so, you’re not alone.
Because we love analogies, let’s pretend you need to grab lunch. You have two options: A) The place you found online and are unfamiliar with or B) the place endorsed by a number of friends. Where do you go?
Most of us would choose Option B, of course. So why not apply this line of thinking to career exploration? Just as chatting with friends can break the tie between Pad Thai and sushi, “interviewing” fellow Friedman students, professors, Tufts alumni, and other professionals adds valuable information to your career research.
Would a particular job be a good fit for you? Would working for a specific employer be a fulfilling experience? Does a given industry or field have long-term career viability for you?
Networking is one way you can gather data to help answer these questions.
In addition to this illuminating info, expanding and nurturing one’s professional network leads to opportunities.
When a potential employer is looking for a person with your skills and experience, someone from your network may be able to recommend you.
3 Things to Remember (whether you’re new to the process or an experienced networker!)
In the Block Career Center, we often have networking strategy conversations with students, and here are 3 of our favorite takeaways:
You are in charge of the process.
When it comes to networking, you are responsible for researching contacts, conducting outreach, and preparing thoughtful questions for your conversations. Why are you in charge? You have the best knowledge of how your career interests and experiences relate to your future goals, so you’re the expert when it comes to the kinds of conversations and information-gathering that will be most helpful. This informational interviewing resource, as well as the recommended reading below, will assist with your preparation.
Don’t wait for “perfect.”
Do you sometimes feel as if you’re waiting for the “perfect” networking conversation? That is, the person who has the exact position you’d like to have, for the “right” employer, and in your ideal location? If any of this speaks to you, it’s time to take down those networking barriers! You’ll never know what you might learn or where the conversation could lead, so it’s best to refrain from making hasty assumptions about a networking contact’s value.
Curiosity is key.
Being curious and open to new information will serve you well in networking conversations. Thinking “what can I learn from this person?” rather than “what can this person do for me?” will help you have the best possible networking mindset.
Networking Resources for Friedman School Students
- Friedman Featured Alumni — a great jumping off point! Try speaking with one alumni volunteer and then use the other resources on this list to expand your efforts
- LinkedIn Groups — in addition to the many, many industry-focused groups, you’ll find communities like the Tufts Friedman School Alumni Association and the Tufts University Career Network. Consider joining groups that appeal to you, searching for members with interesting career paths, and reaching out to request short conversations. *Note: You can send 15 free 1-on-1 LinkedIn group messages to fellow group members each month, even if you’re not connected to those people on LinkedIn. This limit is set for ALL the groups you belong to and not for each group individually.