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As a Clark student, you already have connections.

Family, friends, alumni, professors, peers, clubs, social organizations, and advisers are all a valuable part of your network. During your career journey, that network will be your most important tool in finding new opportunities.

Student on phone

How to start? Try Informational Interviews

Informational interviews are an opportunity to “pick the brain” of a professional whose career or expertise you admire.  In just 20 minutes, you can learn a lot — and jump-start your network.

Check out our guide on informational interviews.

Download Guide

80% of 2018 college graduates obtained jobs through networking.

Need help building your network?

  • Friends and Family: The first step in finding new contacts is to reach out to your immediate network of friends and family. Talk to your parents, professors, teachers, family members, or your friend’s family members. Start by asking them to help you make connections with people who are in careers that interest you. Once you connect, you can start to build a relationship or ask for additional contacts that might be of value for you.
  • ClarkCONNECT is an easy-to-use platform that brings together the Clark community and provides you with unprecedented access to 2,500+ alumni, faculty, and parent connections and mentors. On ClarkCONNECT, you can engage in relevant topics and trends in academic and career communities. From these connections, you can discover pathways for internships, research collaborations, networking and employment opportunities, advice, and guidance about careers and industries. Here are a few tips for making a new connection on ClarkCONNECT:
    • Send an email or LinkedIn/ClarkCONNECT message to introduce yourself and briefly explain why you’re reaching out and what you hope to learn through conversation.
    • Make a list of questions to ask contacts when you connect so that you’re prepared. Here’s a helpful list of questions to ask.
    • Be genuine by demonstrating your interest in your new contact’s experiences, establishing what you have in common with them, and explaining what you hope to learn from them.
    • Be respectful and professional by editing your message for spelling and grammatical errors. Take the time to craft a well-thought-out message. First impressions are important in establishing new connections.
    • Don’t be discouraged if people don’t respond right away. Let them know that you’ll follow-up, then be sure to follow through by sending a second message after a certain period of time (typically a week or more).
    • If you do connect, be sure to send a thank you email or note!
  • LinkedIn is a powerful networking resource of 70 million professionals around the globe representing 150 industries, including 30,000+ Clark alumni. You can create a free account to begin expanding your network of connections.
    • How do I connect with people on LinkedIn? When connecting with others on LinkedIn, you will be prompted to describe how you know the other person through a set of choices that LinkedIn provides. You also will have the option to include a personal note along with the connection request, a message that the person on the other end will be able to see. You should customize this message to describe the nature of why you are connecting. In it, briefly include:
      • An introduction (“Hi, I’m a junior studying International Development at Clark University…”).
      • An explanation of your common interests or shared affiliation (“I see you were an athlete at Clark; I’m a student-athlete on the baseball team”).
      • A brief “ask” of what you hope to learn or do (“I’d welcome the opportunity to learn more about your career path into investment banking through a 30-minute phone call at your convenience”).
      • Sincere thanks (“Thanks so much for considering my connection and I look forward to your response”).
    • How do I Connect with Alumni on LinkedIn? To connect with Clark alumni on LinkedIn, you need to first ensure that you have listed Clark University in the “Education” section of your LinkedIn profile. Once your profile is complete, simply go to Clark University’s main LinkedIn page and click on the alumni tab on the column on the left. Once there, you’ll see an ongoing list of alumni that you can easily filter by industry, location, job title, company, or keyword. One thing to keep in mind: Your LinkedIn profile is often the first link that appears when someone searches your name via Google.

Think about your strengths and interests by reflecting on your current positive and negative experiences.

  • Assess your current connections by identifying the people who most align with your values and interests and with whom you should connect to diversify your perspective.
  • Connect with curiosity by asking questions without the pressure of a formal networking event or a formal ask for a job or internship.
  • Look for opportunities to connect with people and experiences through social networks, clubs, volunteering, and job boards.
  • Cultivate your network by showing genuine interest in people’s experiences and by keeping in touch with those who took the time to connect with you.

Want to start making a professional connection with alumni but not sure where to start? Here are a few sample messages to help guide you:

Graduate School

“Hi Alumni,

My name is Student and I am a junior at Clark double majoring in Spanish and psychology. I am interested in pursuing graduate school after Clark and noticed that you recently finished your Ph.D. in psychology. I’d like to learn more about the psychology program at X University and hear about your path from Clark, to graduate school, to career. Could we schedule a time to speak, at your earliest convenience?

I look forward to connecting!

Sincerely,

Student”


Career Exploration

“Hi Alumni,

My name is Student and I’m a Media, Culture, and the Arts major at Clark University. I want to work in journalism after graduation; I saw you interned at X Organization during your time at Clark and I’m wondering if you could tell me more about your experience there. I’m interested in learning more about the journalism field and would love to hear about your work at Y Company. Is there a time that we could schedule a phone call? I appreciate any insight you’re able to share.

Thank you,

Student”


Informational interview

“Hi Alumni,

My name is Student and I’m a sophomore at Clark. I am majoring in business, but think I might want to pursue a career in policy reform. Since you majored in business and now work at a think tank, I’d like to hear about your unconventional path from Clark to policy research. How did your business degree help prepare you to work in this field? Can we schedule a time to talk more about your academic and professional experiences?

Looking forward to talking soon,

Student”

Here’s a guide to the Do’s and Don’ts of connecting with alumni.

Download Guide