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Networking is by far the most effective way to get the job you really want.
Through your network, you may uncover unadvertised job openings and benefit from an advocate on the inside who may help you get interviews for jobs and/or support your candidacy during the interview process.
- The W Network Wellesley’s alumnae network is unsurpassed in its breadth, depth and power as a tool to advance your career. Networking in the truest sense is about sharing information and advice. Alumnae profiles are sorted by life experiences rather than occupation to include not only career information, but also volunteer work, hobbies, areas of expertise, professional memberships, services offered, and affiliations. In addition, alumnae can indicate their interest in discussing a variety of life topics, such as caring for aging parents, women’s health issues, or re-entering the workforce.
Please remember that the W Network is not for direct solicitation of employment, housing, internship, or business opportunities unless otherwise indicated by the alumna. You can read more information on the W Network and best practices to using it here.
- Alumnae Association Affinity Groups The Wellesley College Alumnae Association (WCAA) offers alumnae a way to make connections through a shared interest or affinity group. Some of these groups are professionally oriented and have developed ways of engaging students through collaboration with the WCAA and CWS. Watch our events calendar for upcoming events!
Online Social Networking Current trends make it equally important to develop and maintain online networking connections and have a professional online presence. It is very important to distinguish between your social networks and your professional networks. Remember that despite privacy settings, you should consider anything you publish online to be public information.
The Center for Work and Service encourages seniors and alumnae to consider using LinkedIn for professional networking. Over 35 million professionals use LinkedIn to exchange information, ideas and opportunities
Expanding Your Network
In addition to Wellesley alumnae, your networking list might include the names of people you know who work in an area related to your field of interest or who may know of someone who works in that field. Internships and community service experiences are excellent ways to explore fields of interest, meet individuals, and expand your network. Attending on-campus events featuring Wellesley alumnae is a way to practice your networking skills and add new people to your network.
Mobilizing Your Network
Once you have developed your networking list, notify each person on the list that you are beginning your job search. Contact them by e-mail or telephone to let them know you’re on the job market and if appropriate, request a brief (15-20 minute) informational interview (either in person or via telephone). When composing an email or speaking with members of your network, keep the following points in mind:
- Always have an updated resume ready to send to give your contacts a sense of your background.
- Be able to state clearly the goals and objectives of your job search. Summarize explicitly but concisely your qualifications, skills, and background as they relate to your chosen field.
- Specifically state the ways in which you hope network members will be able to help you. Do not assume that the people with whom you meet will know what your needs are, regardless of their professional experience.
- Ask individuals in your network about developments and job opportunities in your field of interest.
- Be sure to do your own research and not ask questions you could easily find answers to elsewhere.
Sample informational interview questions include:
- What does your work involve?
- What are the critical skills for a position in your field?
- What is a typical work day or work week like for you?
- What other careers did you consider?
- What are the most/least interesting aspects of your job?
- What are the toughest problems and decisions you face?
- What are your typical working hours? Are they flexible?
- Is much travel required? How often and for how long do you travel?
- How effective was your undergraduate education in preparing you for this job?
- What do you think is the most important requirement for obtaining a job now in this field? How about for advancement?
- How abundant are future career opportunities in your field?
- What major changes and developments do you foresee in this field in the future?
- What types of training does your company provide to entry-level employees?
- What is the typical career path in your field/organization?
- What is it like to work for this company?
- What advice would you have for someone in my position looking to enter this field?
Before leaving the interview, ask for names of other people who might be willing to talk with you and/or names of useful publications, websites or blogs to read. Through this process, you are building your network of personal contacts. Keep the names and addresses of all those you meet on file; add new contacts to your LinkedIn network once you’ve met with them. Always write a thank you note within 24 hours of your meeting.
Learn more information about informational interviewing.