Chinese Studies is available in Thailand. Contact Jennifer or Julie.

Networking

Networking: Informational Interviews and Email Etiquette

 

What is an informational interview?

An informational interview is an opportunity for you to ask questions of an alum or a professional in your field of interest. These interviews are not directly used to find jobs or internships but are instead ways to gather information and gain insight into life after Earlham.

Informational interviews can help you find out more about your field of interest, learn about a certain company or organization, or understand a different perspective.

What should I ask in an informational interview?

Informational interviews are all about making connections and broadening your knowledge. Some potential questions include:

  • Could you tell me about your career path?
  • What was your first job out of Earlham or after college?
  • What does a typical workday look like for you?
  • What advice do you have for someone starting out in your field?

 

How do I find someone to interview?

Most people are open and willing to talk about their careers with young professionals. Reach out through your network of family and friends to find people working in your field of interest. You can also contact someone at a specific organization or company in which you’re interested. If you would like to connect with alumni, visit the CCE to learn about possible connections.

If you are looking to make a connection through email or social media, send a short and professional email to a person who works in a field or organization in which you are interested. In the email, make sure you:

  • Include your name, college that you are attending, and major.
  • Explain why you are interested in connecting with them (to ask for their advice for a young professional and to learn about their career path).
  • Ask them for twenty minutes of their time, either to meet for coffee (locally) or to have a brief phone conversation at a time of their convenience.
  • Thank them for their time and consideration.

Above all, be courteous and curious.

Email Etiquette

Email can be a great way to communicate with potential contacts in your field of interest–as long as your email doesn’t come across in a negative light. Follow some of these quick tips to make sure your email etiquette is up to par.

  • Use a professional email address. Avoid using email handles like “partygirl92” or “batman56.” Create a professional email, ideally using your name as the handle. Your Earlham email is also appropriate for professional settings. You can always set up email forwarding so you don’t have to check multiple email accounts.
  • Use a professional greeting and closing. Although we are all on a first-name basis at Earlham, it’s still a good idea to be professional and courteous in email. Don’t start your email with “Hey.” Sign off by using a phrase like “Sincerely,” “All the best,” or “Thank you.”
  • Be clear and concise. This applies to both the subject line and the body of the email. Create a subject line which directly refers to the subject of your email. In the body, make sure your language is clear and concise while still being polite. While you shouldn’t use abbreviations or texting language (LOL, TTYL, etc.), you also don’t want to lose your reader’s attention by being too wordy or beating around the bush.
  • Be polite. Saying “please” and “thank you” goes a long way, especially when you are asking something of someone. Reread your email before sending, paying attention to the tone. Could someone reading this email take it the wrong way? Remember that your readers will not have your tone of voice, facial expressions, and gestures to help them understand your meaning. Humor and sarcasm are especially hard to relay through email.
  •  Fill in the “To” field last. Avoid sending an email before it’s finished by leaving the “To” field blank until you’re ready to send. Remember, once an email has been sent, you can’t get it back–and you also can’t control who may receive it as a forward. This is a good point to remember before sending what could be perceived as negative communication. Always make sure the words you send out into the world reflect a positive and professional image of you.

 

Sample Networking Email

Subject: Career Advice for an Earlhamite

Dear Mr. Darwin,

My name is Jane Doe, and I am a second-year student majoring in biology at Earlham College. I am interested in a career in biology and research, and my Career Coach suggested I contact you. I understand that your research involves the evolution of finches, a subject I am also interested in studying.

It would be very helpful to speak with someone who currently does the work which I would someday hope to pursue. I’m interested in learning about the steps you took to become a researcher, as well as any career guidance you might be able to offer. Would you be willing to have a 20-30 minute phone conversation on this subject?

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Jane Doe

Can 1 question turn around a negative conversation?

My daughter recently traveled to North Carolina to try her hand at selling pest control. She had an interesting experience talking with people and experiencing rejection firsthand.

One day recently, my daughter knocked on a door and a man answered. …

By John R. Stoker
John R. Stoker
Read more »

How to Turn Your Summer Internship Into a Full-Time Job

So you landed a summer internship – congratulations! Now that you’ve made the obligatory Facebook/LinkedIn post and changed that status to employed, you may be thinking about what you can do to make a lasting impression at one of your first …

By Maximilian Vanegas - WayUp
WayUp
Sign up to WayUp to personalize your job search and apply to opportunities from Fortune 500s to startups, all in one place. Let’s get you hired! Click here
Read more »

Ask Alexis | Should I Include Potentially Controversial Volunteer Experience On My Resume?

Dear Ask Alexis,

Over the last few years, I’ve been doing quite a bit of volunteering. I’m concerned, however, that some of my stints may be just a little controversial depending on the organization I’m applying to work for now …

By Alexis Perrotta - Idealist Careers
Idealist Careers
Idealist Careers | Helping you land, love, and grow in your social-impact career. And visit Idealist.org explore thousands of great jobs and social-impact organizations near you.
Read more »

Attention new grads: 4 mistakes to avoid when networking

As a college senior or new grad, you may think you are totally new to networking. Actually, you’ve been doing it for years: every time you have asked a friend to tell you about a new app they like, every …

By Joanne Meehl - College Recruiter
College Recruiter
College Recruiter believes that every student and recent grad deserves a great career. Each year, we help more than 3 million students and recent grads find part-time, seasonal, internship, and entry-level jobs requiring 0-3 years of experience.
Read more »

8 Career Tips From People Who Landed an Internship at BlackRock

As a current student or recent graduate, one question you might be asking yourself is how can you prepare yourself for an interview and secure a job. But given the fact that interviews and application processes differ from company to …

By Maximilian Vanegas - WayUp
WayUp
Sign up to WayUp to personalize your job search and apply to opportunities from Fortune 500s to startups, all in one place. Let’s get you hired! Click here
Read more »

Sidebar

Resources

The CGCE’s guide to networking like a boss.

Contact & Location

Phone
(765) 983-1424
Address

1st Floor Landrum Bolling Center
801 National Rd W
Richmond, IN 47374
Richmond, IN 47374

Office Hours

M 8:30am - 12pm; 1pm-5pm
T 8:30am - 12pm; 1pm-5pm
W 8:30am - 12pm; 1pm-5pm
TH 8:30am - 12pm; 1pm-5pm
F 8:30am - 12pm; 1pm-5pm