The meaning of Networking and setting up an Informational Interview


networking-image-300x209[1]I am reading the fully revised and updated second edition of, “How to Find a Job on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google +” by Brad Schepp and Debra Schepp. More than half of the book is dedicated to LinkedIn, but in skimming ahead I can see that each social network addressed in the book looks at networking as a HUGE part of an effective job search. Having worked in a job center for over 20 years before landing my job here at Western, I speak from experience when I state that networking is the #1 most effective method of job seeking. Social websites can help us facilitate our networking efforts.

So what is networking? Most of us think networking is all about asking people we know to help us get a job. Well, I learned from the “Czar of Job Search” (Chris Czarnik)(our Guest Speaker-Spring Semester 2014), that we need to be more specific about how we network. “Networking is finding people who are willing to help you find people who are able to help you. Networking is Advice – Guidance – and Feedback from the people who live in the world that you want to live in next.” Mr. Czarnik recommends that job seekers create a 1000/1000 list – if you were 1000 miles away from home and in jail and needed $1000 bail money, who is it that would leave their Christmas eve celebration and drive to bail you out? (believe me…there are very few people who would do this)…you say to those few people: “The best way you can help me with my job search is to give me the name or introduce me to any one you know that does ___________work. (fill in the blank with whatever work you are specifically looking for).

Once you meet people that are in the field or industry that you want to work in, THEN you request “informational interviews.” You NEVER specifically ask for a job mind you! And you will research the company before you go in to talk with the person so that you can have as much knowledge about the company as possible beforehand. You request 15-20 minutes of time with this person and you ask specific questions like, “How did you get where you are today?” “I have a degree in ______so what should I do next in order to move towards my goal of ______.” We have a couple of handouts (here in Career Services) that guide you through this process and give you ideas for questions…come see us or email me at to obtain electronic copies.


The Tools of Job Search


Job Seeking when done well, is time consuming, there is no doubt about it. But there are tools that can help and those tools and tips are what this blog is all about. I will be covering topics such as: resume tips, cover letter tips, LinkedIn – how to create your profile, networking, career planning, turning a Job Fair into a job offer, interviewing tips, using ONet Online to describe your skills and abilities, PLUS addressing any barriers to employment that you may have. Feel free to post any questions or comments!

Job Seeking Services Provided



Career Services (located in the Welcome Center, 400 7th Street North, La Crosse, WI) is here for students and alumni, providing assistance with your job search. We can assist with resumes and cover letters, help you create your LinkedIn profile, talk with you about how you are conducting your job search, and give you a boost if you are feeling discouraged with your job search. We are here for you with any job seeking assistance that you may need. Do walk in. Walk in hours are: Monday-Thursday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Need help deciding on a career path?


imagesCAIETCFVNeed help deciding on a career path? Come to Western Technical College’s Career Services department. We are located in the Welcome Center at 400 7th Street North in La Crosse, WI. Our walk in hours are: Monday through Thursday 8 am to 4 pm and Fridays from 10 am to 4 pm. I can walk you through an assessment that will help you learn about your personality strengths, your interests and your values. Then another assessment will tell you which career clusters you have a high interest in. We talk after each assessment and I provide guidance on how to make some career decisions for yourself with the help of the assessments. Walk in or call me for an appointment at 608-785-9257.