Career Exploration and Development

Networking 101

Anywhere from 70% - 85% of jobs are found through networking. So you know you need to do it, but how to get started?

What is Networking?

Networking involves 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. Think of networking as a long-term investment, rather than a quick fix.

Who Should I Talk To?

  • You're guaranteed to have at least one thing in common: Oberlin. You can find alumni online via two main resources:
    • OberLink: Find and talk with alumni who are eager to share their advice and expertise. You can create an account with your email address, single sign-on, or LinkedIn.
    • LinkedIn: It's a digital résumé, social and professional network all in one! We recommend joining the Oberlin College and Conservatory group, which has nearly 7,000 members.

Offer a wealth of information about their discipline, based on their research or community involvement. Faculty are also often a good resource for those considering attending graduate school.

Read up on your field(s) of interest on reputable websites, watch in-person and virtual talks, and reach out to those whose work most resonates with you.  If you share a well-thought-out response to an article or lecture, you might be surprised by the positive response you get.

This includes (but isn't limited to) friends, family, supervisors, co-workers, coaches and acquaintances. Chat with people casually - on a plane or bus, while waiting in lines, at social gatherings, etc. Join a professional organization in your field and get to know your peers. Most people enjoy talking about the work they do, and curiosity can open doors.

Not everyone you network with will have a job for you; in fact, the vast majority won't. The point is to talk to as many people as possible to expand your horizons, get introduced to peers and other professionals, and find out about opportunities you never would have considered before. If you end up with a job offer, all the better!

Want to learn more about networking? Schedule an appointment in Handshake (Appointment Category: Career Exploration and Development).