PROJECT 13: Network Informational Interviewing


Networking is one of the most important activities that you will do in your lifelong career endeavors. It has two main facets: interviewing for information (getting known) and creating a networking database that grows continuously. One of your networking projects will focus on the interview and the other on your database creation. Just like cover letters, resumes, interviewing skills, and career focus, networking skills improve as you implement actions recommended in your textbook.

Who are your potential network partners? Whether you are as happy as possible in your chosen career field and with your current employer or if you have just been terminated, you never want to stop your networking activities. Even in retirement it is networking that keeps you growing in your life’s working activities.

This project complements Project 17, Network Partner Database Creation. You might find that completing both of these projects will best fit your needs, depending on your career track direction. Who are the influential people that you will interview for information?

These projects work especially well for students who will eventually need graduate study references, are considering an entrepreneurial track, or see themselves on a fast track up into a given career field.

This is an excellent project even if you have already accepted employment. Creating a database of contacts will always enhance your future plans regardless of your career directions.


Read textbook Chapter 16 on Networking thoroughly.

Your finished project should fulfill ALL of the requirements below.


Networking increases your chances of finding the right job. There are many alumni in our database waiting to help you if you only ask. You may know of others willing to help you. You should begin this project well in advance of its due date.

A.     Review Chapter 16 in the textbook on Networking and Informational Interviewing.

B.     Review the PowerPoint lectures and discussion sessions on the networking topic.

C.    Select a Contact: Review the content in the chapters on cover letters and resumes so you can see the proper formats and word choices that will help you earn the respect of your potential network partners. Then identify one potential network partner that will help you in your current job search or long-term career advancement. You will need complete information on this person who can be a faculty member, IU staff member, IU alumnus, leader in your profession, potential employer, leader in your community, employed in your job interest area, etc. Write a brief note identifying this person to your Career Counselor. Describe the background of your informational interview person.

D.    Request Appointment: Write a cover letter (which may be sent via email) that you feel will persuade the person to respond. Follow the business letter format given in Figure 13.6 in the textbook even though you may use email. In your cover letter include:

·        as many of your questions as possible, drawing your questions from Figure 16.7, organized around topics. Draw up a separate page of questions specific to your unique situation.

·        your background that summarizes your resume including the format tips from Figure 13.7.

·        your purpose in the information search (Prepare a one-paragraph opening “commercial” about yourself and your goals for this meeting.)

·        sources of their name, e.g. alumni database, mutual friend, professor, etc., explaining the relationship.

E.     Free-form Resume: Attach your resume using the Networking Recommender Resume format discussed earlier in the last section of Chapter 11.

F.     Timing: Send this at a time appropriate to your total job search plan. Create a short statement about timing. Given this due date, you must send it now.

G.    Implement: You must actually implement your plan by sending the email and then following up with a personal appointment or telephone interview. You are expected to carefully follow Figure 16.8 in your textbook as well as the other methods described in Chapter 16. Write a brief evaluation of the person’s response. Did you cover the questions you wanted (needed) to ask? Did the conversation take a different track? Results of the contact—any follow-up?

H.     Follow-up: Draft a thank-you note (which may be sent via email) to the network partner. Follow the guidelines in your textbook.

Deliverables: Turn in to your Career Counselor:

Ø      Informational interview request letter

Ø      List of informational questions

Ø      Networking Recommender Resume (could be from a previous project)

Ø      Timing statement

Ø      Interview results summary including follow-up plans

Ø      Thank you email/letter.