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The Value of Networking

Think you don’t have a network? Think again! Your network includes most people you know – other students, alumni, faculty, staff, professional contacts, and more. How you grow and nurture your networking is one of the most important professional skills you can develop. Many jobs happen through your network – you may have heard the expression “it’s who you know”.

There are many ways to network, but some good strategies include:

  • Get to know your professors to learn about opportunities in the field and to verify your professional interests
  • Share your interests and goals with family friends and professional connections
  • Review your online brand through social media to ensure it reflects the image you are curating
  • Develop a strategic online presence through LinkedIn and/or your own professional portfolio
  • Support others when you can to share network contacts and resources (a great network is mutually beneficial)

Build Your Network with a Career Coach

The Career Network is available to help you develop a strategy for building and sustaining your professional network of employers, alumni, and more! Schedule with a coach using the Handshake platform. Visit our About Handshake page to learn more about the tool and how to log in the first time.

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Bobcat Network

A fantastic OHIO tool available to you is the Bobcat Network, a platform to build connections with OHIO alumni interested in mentoring students, networking, or answering simple questions about what it’s like to work in [fill-in-the-blank] industry.

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LinkedIn is a great tool to build your professional brand, research career opportunities, and to network with people around the globe. Work with a career coach to build a profile or to ask for feedback about your already-designed profile. Explore the Ohio University Alumni Tool to review information from more than 170,000 students and alumni. Find out the top employers for your major, geographic area, and more.


Informational Interviews

The term informational interview refers to any conversation where you ask questions to learn more about someone else’s experiences. This can be helpful when you want to learn what it is like to work for a certain company, how someone started their career in a particular industry, and to gather advice about how to prepare for a successful career. 

You can conduct an informational interview with anyone, but common sources are people you already know and connections on LinkedIn and the Bobcat Network. Consider your faculty, professional contacts, family members, friends, coaches, and more when you think about who may have good professional insights. LinkedIn is also a great tool for conducting informational interviews with people you do not already know. Check out the Ohio University alumni search on LinkedIn to review users who have careers, geography, or majors of interest to you to see a range of career outcomes. If you see a user you want to learn more about, send them a connection request with a personal note describing who you are and why you want to contact them. Talk with a career coach to strategize this further and to draft some questions for an informational interview. Some common questions for an informational interview include: 

  • What type of work do you do for your organization?  

  • What do you like about your work and your organization? 

  • How did you get your first job? 

  • How did you advance to your current role? 

  • What advice do you have for someone looking to get into this industry? 

  • Is there anyone else you recommend that I talk to about this industry?