Talk to people — Joyce’s Career Tip of the Week

Two people talk at a career fair

Are you a first- or second-year student still taking mostly math and science courses and want to know more about your chosen major? Are you currently looking for an internship? Are you a new alum who is job hunting? Have you recently started a position and are trying to figure out what you need to learn and do to be successful?

I’m sure that most of you are experts at doing web searches to find information, but I want to suggest a different way to find answers: consider talking to people.

What is it that you want to know? How can you find someone who might have that knowledge? This is where searching the web comes in handy. You can study professional organizations and company websites, read business journals and news articles. Advanced people searches and group memberships on LinkedIn are great ways to find people.

If you are genuinely interested in a topic, the odds are that a person who shares that interest just might want to talk to you. Human beings are funny animals. We especially like to be recognized as experts by others who ask us for advice.

You can start out by posting a question in a LinkedIn group. Are there any organizations having conferences or doing service projects this summer that might need a helpful volunteer? You want to limit your searching to finding people and getting information that is of genuine interest to you. This is really important. After a few informative conversations, you might even be ready to find an email address or phone number and reach out to a “a stranger” (with whom you share common interests) for a few moments of his or her time.

Eighty-five percent is the recent figure for jobs that are filled by networking. What this means is that 85 percent of a job seeker’s time should be spent networking — connecting with and talking to people rather than hours upon hours filling out online applications. Your professional network isn’t only for job leads, but for sharing ideas and information, asking and answering questions and providing mutual support. You can do it. Start today and give it a try!

For more information:

How Many Jobs Are Found Through Networking, Really?

New Survey Reveals 85 percent of All Jobs are Filled Via Networking


Joyce Donahue is a career counselor in the Fulton Schools Career Center. She is a nationally certified career counselor and holds “Master Career Counselor” membership status in the National Career Development Association.