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Networking Strategies

In developing your list of potential contacts, consider everyone in your personal and professional network, including:

  • Friends, family members, neighbors
  • Classmates and alumni from any schools you have attended
  • Fellow members of clubs, organizations, professional associations
  • Professors, mentors, staff members, academic advisors, coaches
  • Former and current work supervisors and co-workers

While some of your primary contacts can be rich sources of career-related information, others may be able to refer you to another person who can offer help. As you reach out to others in your network, continue to refine your interests and goals with the information you have collected.

Your professional profile and engagement with social media are highly effective tools for networking. Professional and social media platforms are useful resources for researching careers, gaining insight from experienced professionals and searching for jobs. Actively manage your personal brand online to promote your skills, interests and professional aspirations with the following sites:

  • LinkedIn – Develop your profile on the world's largest professional network to exponentially increase your world of connections, research companies of interest, discover job opportunities, and engage with alumni and industry groups. Update your profile regularly with the skills, qualities and experiences that will attract potential employers.
  • Twitter and Facebook – Explore the professional applications of these omnipresent sites to expand your network, improve your personal brand and interact with potential hiring managers. Professionalism is key to leveraging your online presence for the job search. Keep your profile(s) professional and activate privacy settings to control the information displayed publicly. Learn about how to use social media professionally by reviewing our Professional Use of Technology Guide.

Reference our handout to understand how to use social media and technology appropriately in the workplace.

An informational interview is a 15-30 minute meeting with the purpose of learning more about an occupation, industry, company, or other career-related information. It is an exploratory conversation in which you identify whom to interview, prepare questions to ask, evaluate the information you have gathered, and follow up with the person accordingly. You can reach out to anyone for an informational interview, including alumni, executives, supervisors, mentors, or friends. Keep in mind that it is designed to be a learning experience and NOT a solicitation for a job or internship.

Share Your Road connects people who are looking for future paths with professionals who've found theirs. Sit down with a leader to hear their journey and turn your conversation into a story others can learn from.

Benefits of Informational Interviewing

  • Discover new careers
  • Provide direction in choosing a career path or preparing for a career change with firsthand, insider information
  • Assess your compatibility with a particular career
  • Uncover your professional strengths and weaknesses
  • Revise your resume to better fit the specific industry or career field
  • Offer insight to guide future job searches
  • Improve your interviewing skills
  • Expand your professional network

Guidelines for Informational Interviewing

  • When contacting someone for an interview, introduce who you are, why you are interested in speaking with him or her and your degree of connection (e.g., fellow Wave with the similar academic major).
  • Prepare a list of informed questions by researching the career field, industry and organization.
  • Polish your resume in advance and be prepared to provide a copy if asked.
  • Maintain a professional presence during the meeting and take notes.
  • Be ready to share some of your own interests, experiences and career goals; try to find something you have in common with the person.
  • Follow up by sending a thank you note.
  • Stay in touch with your contacts by maintaining correspondence and updating them on your progress.
  • Refer to our Ultimate Guide to Informational Interviews for additional guidance on informational interviews.

Companies, non-profit organizations and government agencies visit campus throughout the year to share career opportunities with students. During the Fall industry career fairs and the Spring Career Expo, company presentations and information tables, you can speak directly with employers about internship and job possibilities. Employers often share aspects about the company culture, tips for strengthening your application and opportunities about career advancement within the company. Employer events also offer the opportunity to practice introducing yourself to others and build your professional network as you evaluate your fit with a particular job, company and industry.

To see the full calendar of events and RSVP, log into Handshake.

Building relationships with fellow Waves is an excellent way to expand your professional network in any stage of your career. Whether you are seeking to conduct an informational interview with a professional or researching a specific company, turn to your alumni network as a rich source of information and opportunity. There are a variety of methods to connect with alumni, including:

  • PeppConnect: In this unique virtual community, Pepperdine alumni, faculty, staff, and parents have made themselves available to offer the exact resources you're looking for in one convenient location. Log in today to build professional, personal, and purposeful relationships with Pepperdine people all over the world.
  • Student Alumni Organization : Attend events hosted by this student-led organization designed to foster relationships among current students and alumni, including Night 2 Network and Hang 10 Dinners. These events gather alumni working in various industries to answer your questions and share their professional experiences to guide your career path.
  • LinkedIn Alumni Groups: Curious about where alumni are working, what positions they hold and what experiences they've had since graduating? Explore your alumni network on LinkedIn and reach out to Waves in your targeted position, company, industry and interest area. Numerous groups cater to facilitating connections among students and alumni, including "Seaver College/George Pepperdine College Alumni," "Pepperdine University Alumni," "Waves Hiring Waves" and various local and regional chapter groups.

For more information about alumni events, contact the Pepperdine Alumni Association.

Becoming part of a professional association can open up your networking possibilities by connecting you with professionals in your field. These organizations exist at the local, national and international level as a way to educate, support, and advance the professional development of members. Participation in a professional organization also provides opportunities to find a mentor in the field, enhance your resume, gather industry knowledge and learn about job positions. The following directories can help you identify professional associations related to your field of interest: