Questions to Ask People in Your Network

Family members, friends, and your associates are all people in your career network.  They can be valuable sources of information and advice when you are searching for work.  The Muse has put together several suggestions to ask career questions of the people in your network.

  1. Ask your networking contacts to introduce you to someone who works at a company at which you may want to work.  Having this company contact gives you a real-life person who may be willing to speak with you about your career interests and skills, and provides information about how the company matches with your interests and goals.
  2. “If you don’t have any particular person in mind that you’d like to meet, it can still be helpful to see if your professional contacts have ideas for others with whom you should connect. Tell them the types of people you’re hoping to meet, and there’s a solid chance they know at least one person who would be interesting for you to chat with.”
  3. Ask your contacts if they know about certain companies.  You could ask, for example, “… is there a certain company in your industry that is doing well but has a reputation for being a terrible place to work?”
  4. Ask your network for recommendations “for industry events and conferences”.  These events and conferences provide valuable opportunities to meet people who work in companies at which you would like to work.
  5. Ask people in your target companies for an informational interview.  They will be able to provide information about the company you cannot get anywhere else, and may also provide names of other people with whom you can speak or job leads.  Alternatively, you can ask people in your network to refer you to someone in those companies to have an informational interview with you.
  6. Ask your network to read over your resume and cover letter and make suggestions.  They can provide valuable suggestions for improvement.
  7. Ask any of your contacts to help prepare you for interviews by having them drill you on common interview questions.  Memphis Public Libraries have a wealth of interview books for this purpose that you can give to your contacts so they can quiz you on the questions in these books.
  8. If you are debating between multiple job offers, asking people in your network to look at the offers may “help you figure out which option to go with … or at least point out some different things for you to think about.”
  9. If you’re stuck in your job search, call on your network to provide a different way of looking at things or solving problems.
  10. If people in your network are in a career field in which you’re interested, ask them to tell you about their career path.  This information provides insight on how to get through difficulties.
  11. Asking your network if there was anything they would have done differently in their careers if they could do them all over again provides ways to “avoid certain pitfalls … [and] it can also give you things to consider that you might not have before.”
  12. Ask your contacts about reading recommendations in the field that interests you and with which they are familiar.  Reading sources can be “newsletters, websites, and magazines ….”  These resources help you stay on top of your field by keeping up with the latest skills, trends, and developments.
  13. Ask only reliable people in your network to serve as a reference for you.  This tip is especially helpful if you are out of work, but looking to get re-employed.  Frequently employers ask for references, so having a list of people who have agreed to be references is a strong asset.
  14. If you use LinkedIn, professional contacts on that site are able to “illustrate that they support the work you do without too big of a commitment.”  You can contact them on LinkedIn and ask if they will show their support for you on that website.
  15. Remember to ask your networking contacts if they need anything from you.  Don’t make networking “a one-way street” for you only.  “… look for ways that you can help them, too.  Regularly giving to others will ensure that they’re always happy to return the favor.”

 

Source: Herman, Lily. “21 questions you haven’t been asking your network (But really should).” Daily Muse, Inc., https://www.themuse.com/advice/21-questions-you-havent-been-asking-your-network-but-really-should. Accessed 14 November 2017.

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Filed under Career Advice, Careers, Job and Career Readiness, JobLINC, Memphis Public Libraries

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