Build a Network and Professional Brand

Why Networking Is Important and How to Build a Brand!

Networking is the #1 way to find a job! Approximately 70-80% of job seekers find jobs through networking. Networking includes talking to people, making connections, and developing rapport to grow your circle of influence, whether face-to-face, by phone/ email, or through online sites like OWU Alumni Partners or LinkedIn.

Quick Networking Tips

  • Nurture relationships – follow-up is key!
  • Establish connections – get out of your comfort zone and meet people.
  • Talk with alums – they are often eager to help students succeed!
  • Write thank you notes – you will remain positive in people’s minds as a result.
  • Offer assistance – remember it is not about what you “get,” but what you can offer.
  • Really be real – show your interest and be genuinely you!
  • Keep at it – continue to put yourself out there. Perseverance will get you far.

An informational interview is a discovery meeting you initiate with someone who has a job, employment site, path, or background that interests you.

The Goal: Learn from someone else’s experience to inform you about
new options, best practices, resources, opportunities, and connections.

Informational interviews:

  • Cultivate a professional relationships
  • Are a highly effective networking strategy.
  • Will make it easier for your contact to keep you in mind when opportunities arise within their organization or another site.

Requesting an Informational Details

  • Let your contact know how you got their name/ why you are contacting them. Make it clear that you are looking for information, not a job!
  • Provide background information about yourself (how you became interested in their company/ industry, any related experience you have, etc.).
  • Make a request for 20-60 minutes of their time (you can determine the amount).
  • Thank them in advance and tell them how you will follow up.
  • Reach out to 5-10 people at a time so you hear back from 1-3.
  • If no response after a week, send a brief reminder to ensure the initial request was not overlooked. If you still don’t hear back, move on to another individual.

Informational Interview Layout

  • Begin by thanking the individual for their time.
  • Restate the objective of the discussion, the time allotment, and briefly review your background.
  • Informational interviews should be casual and conversational.
  • Prepare specific open-ended questions that indicate your knowledge of the industry or career path.
  • Focus on topics that cannot be researched online.
  • Listen attentively and take good notes.
  • Always follow up with a thank-you note & add your contact on LinkedIn!

There are many options available to you as an OWU student!

1). Alumni Partners: Visit & connect with alumni dedicated to being a resource and support to students. Reach out to Alumni Partners for insights, advice, and mentorship about their career path, 1:1 mentorship, shadowing & internship opportunities, informational interviews, and so many valuable engagements!

2). Alumni on LinkedIn: Find 16,000+ OWU Alumni directly on LinkedIn:, or access our OWU Alumni and Friends Group:

3). Career Catalyst: Meet with your Career Catalyst in Career Connection for assistance! Schedule on Handshake.

About the Individual

  • What is the best path to this career?
  • What attracted you to this industry, your company, and your job?
  • What aspects of your career are the most and least rewarding/ challenging and why? What would you do differently if you were starting over?
  • If you were in the job market tomorrow, what would you recommend doing?

About the Job

  • What are your primary responsibilities? How do you spend your time?
  • What qualities/attributes do you look for when hiring a __?
  • What are the most valuable skills in your job?
  • Which experiences enabled you to develop these skills?
  • How do you keep your skills current? What do you read?
  • What professional associations do you belong to?
  • What seminars or continuing education do you find useful?

About the Company/ Organization

  • What makes your company/organization unique?
  • What do you see as the biggest competitive challenge for your company/
  • organization?
  • What is the culture like at this company/organization?

About the Industry

  • What have been your biggest surprises in this field?
  • What are the common misconceptions about working in this field?
  • What are the vulnerabilities of this industry? What worries you?
  • What do you expect of people starting out in this industry?
  • What educational and personal qualities in candidates attract you?
  • How do you determine a candidate’s compatibility for the field, including education, personality, and cultural considerations?

Feedback on your Career Search

  • Are there other positions / career paths to consider based on my background and interests?
  • What strengths and weaknesses do you see in my current background?
  • Is there anything else that would be helpful as I consider this field?
  • Looking at my resume, what advice would you have for me on next steps if I were interested in this industry/company/career?
  • Who are other individuals you would recommend I reach out to?

Request for Informational Interview

Dear [Insert Title & First / Last Name],

My name is ____________ and I am currently studying _________ at Ohio Wesleyan
University. I got your contact information from [ Event / Contact Source ]. At Ohio Wesleyan, I am involved in __________. I also have a great interest in__________.

Since you have a background in ________, I was hoping to ask a few questions and learn more about when you are available to connect. My career goals are
_________, and I wish to gain more knowledge and information from you since your experience(s) and career goal(s) are in line with my own!

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing back from you soon!
Kind regards,

[First and Last Name]

Thank You Letter/Email
Send a thank you note within 24-48 hours following informational interviews. Check the letter for grammar and spelling. Emphasize the value of the information / time, note how you will incorporate their suggestions, follow up with relevant documents (resume, contacts, etc.), and mention next steps + that you will stay in touch!


Dear [Insert title and last name or first name],

I enjoyed speaking with you yesterday at the OWU Internship and Summer
Job Fair and learning about the opportunities at . Given
my strong customer service skills, coursework in marketing, and campus
involvement, I’m very interested in the summer internship program.

As you recommended, I applied online this morning. Attached is a copy of my
resume. Please let me know about the next steps. I look forward to hearing
from you!

Jane Bishop

LinkedIn is a social media tool that, if used correctly, helps you establish a professional online presence, personal brand, advance your career, and build your professional network. You can use LinkedIn to research employers, fine and apply for internships and jobs, and connect with professionals including other OWU alumni.

The Nuts and Bolts of Building Your LinkedIn Profile

  • Professional Headshot – You never get a second chance to make a first impression! If you do not have a professional photo, stay tuned for LinkedIn headshot days in Career Connection!
  • Create a Great Headline – Your headline is the first thing that people see, and it is how people can “find” you when using the search feature. It should be concise and compelling. State your goals and passions OR consider what you do and emphasize the results. For example: “Creating positive living environments that foster personal growth as an Ohio Wesleyan University Resident Advisor.” “Aspiring finance professional with a passion for helping people make smart money choices.”
  • Tell Your Story in Your Summary – It can be intimidating to write about yourself, but do not skip this section. Write in first person (I, me, my), and feel free to pull from a summary statement on your resume. Go beyond your experience and talk about challenges you want to tackle, professional interests, and your experiences (academic, internship, and nonacademic).
  • Education – You will want to include not only your OWU education details, but also clubs and other involvements as well.
  • Experience and Skills – Include details on your resume in this section, including internships, full time/part-time jobs, entrepreneurial/freelance work, volunteer work, etc.
  • Other Sections – fill in details regarding your skills, accomplishments, publications, projects, honors/awards, and more!
  • Join Groups – becoming part of a LinkedIn group is a great way to make connections, network, and stay connected to your dreams, goals, and ambitions. It helps you to explore your job options on a broader scale LinkedIn groups come in many different categories.
  • Change Your URL – Change your URL so that it just includes your first and last name. This will make it easier for including on your resume, which is recommended!
  • Connect! – Make sure to connect with us in Career Connection, all of your classmates, professors, and anyone else you know to create a robust network!


News & Advice

Career Connection Hours

Day of the week
Hours Drop-Ins
Monday 8:30 am - 5:00 pm 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Tuesday 8:30 am - 5:00 pm 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Wednesday 8:30 am - 5:00 pm 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Thursday 8:30 am - 5:00 pm 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Friday 8:30 am - 5:00 pm  

Contact & Location

(740) 368-3152

Slocum Hall 207
61 S. Sandusky St.
Delaware, OH 43015