Purpose: In career development and career exploration, seeking contact with those in the field has long been a standard method of information gathering. Whether through interviewing or job shadowing direct contact with people currently in the field of exploration has been seen as a valuable activity. Advancements in technology and social media have now opened the door for you to stay in contact with other students and professionals easier and for longer periods of time. Tools such as Facebook and LinkedIn offer you ways to connect with and maintain a resource-base of exploration contacts.
As a result of this activity you will be able to:
- Describe the experience of someone who is in the career field you are exploring.
- Ask questions of people who are working in the field.
- Evaluate the experience of an employee in the field in light of their assumptions about the career.
- Gather information about the field in question.
This activity requires you to utilize tools such as LinkedIn of Facebook to develop a portfolio of contacts that can be used for exploring majors and careers. Facebook seems to provide a more open forum for a variety of questions including personal opinions and reactions. LinkedIn seems to provide more of an information experience. With either tool you should work to develop a portfolio of contacts over time.
- Develop a list of questions and outline your desired outcomes for the activity.
- Using your list of desired majors and careers, use Facebook and LinkedIn to identify potential contacts who can help you explore your options.
- Provide the contact with your name, a brief introduction about your interests relating to the contact, and what you hope to learn from them.
- Write down responses to your questions as you get them.
- Be sure to write follow-up thank you notes to each of your contacts.
* You can also work with University Career Services to learn more about finding people to connect with as well as additional job search techniques.