"Networking" really just means talking to people and learning from their experiences. This doesn't have to be a formal process, and it shouldn't be one you practice only when job hunting.
Upwards of 85% of job seekers find an opportunity through a personal contact. The good news is you can start to build relationships wherever you are. It’s not “What can I get from someone?” but rather “What can I learn from someone?” Think of networking as a long-term investment, rather than a quick fix.
Networks come in many forms and can involve a variety of people, including:
- Professors and Mentors
- Thought Leaders
- Family, Friends, and Coaches
- Professional Associations
We strongly recommend two networking strategies:
Connect with fellow Obies by networking with alumni on WISR (pronounced “wiser”).
Wisr is a mobile-friendly platform designed specifically to help Oberlin students find and talk with alumni who are eager to share their advice and expertise. Oberlin alumni have a lot to offer, and as you explore your options and prepare for life after Oberlin, even a 20-minute phone conversation with a knowledgeable alum can be enormously helpful.
An informational interview can help you to determine a career path, learn about a company or organization, and build your professional networking contacts. An informational interview is not a job interview; however, it allows you to build your network and may open up future job opportunities.
It’s important to develop your skills and leverage your networks to propel you into the job search. We’ve put together a list of additional resources to help you in this process: