This page describes books and resources that may be helpful when networking and looking for jobs.
Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life
by Bill Burnett & Dave Evans
A book that teaches you how to utilize a designer’s mentality in order to help you create a meaningful life regardless of what stage of life you are in. Burnett and Evans walk their reader through their students’ experiences with the designing process and give readers helpful exercises to complete. This book focuses on utilizing the five life design mind-sets, which include being curious, bias to action, reframing, focusing on process, and asking for help. If you are curious to read more, you may purchase the book on Amazon using this link.
This exercise allows you to map out three different versions of the next five years of your life. All three versions should be distinctly different from one another and will give you real options to choose from. These timelines should include everything, such as where you’ll be living and working, what you will be doing for hobbies, where you might travel, continuing education, promotions at work, personal life details, etc. Life one should be either your current life moving forward and/or your number one plan for the next five years. Life two should be an alternative plan if life one didn’t pan out. Life three should be what you would do with your life if money wasn’t a concern or a limitation. (Exercise sourced from the Designing Your Life website resources page)
Conducting an Informational Interview
Conducting an informational interview can be a very useful tool when trying to learn more about a specific career. By interviewing someone currently working in your field of interest, you can not only learn more about that specific field, but also about that person’s path to working where they are today. This is not a job interview and you should not go into this expecting to land a job in return. Make sure that you make it obvious to the person you are interviewing that you are not asking for a job interview, but rather a conversation about their career path thus far.
How to Email a Stranger and Ask for an Informational Interview
(The following information is sourced with permission from Caitie Whelan’s workshops on the Incredible Community Toolkit, Bates College, May 8th and 11th, 2018. Caitie is the founder of the Lightning Notes, a short daily post to help move the world forward. To learn more and subscribe go to https://www.thelightningnotes.com.)
Be kind, be generous, be respectful
Only reach out to people who you admire and want to know more about
Be short, take your time, do your research on them beforehand
5 Steps to Writing an Email for an Informational Interview:
- Salutation: Dear Mr. or Ms. ___________,
- Point of Commonality: I am a Bates College student/alum, majoring in ___________, or interested in ___________.
- The Ask: Would it be possible to have a 15 minute conversation with you about your career path?
- Gracious Out: Express your understanding that they have a busy schedule and might not have time to talk with you.
- Sign-Off: “With my appreciation,” include your phone number under your name.
Dear Ms. Anderson,
My name is Oliver Barns and I am a soon to be Bates College graduate majoring in visual arts and culture.
I noticed on your LinkedIn profile that you have many years of experience working in art museums across the country. I am very interested in pursuing a career as an art curator in the future. Would it be possible for me to have a 15 minute conversation with you about your career path and why you have chosen to be an art curator?
I realize that you must be very busy and understand if you do not have the time to have a conversation with me, but I thank you for the consideration.
With my appreciation,
Tools to Keep in Mind:
- Use their email response as a template for how to communicate with them in the future. Mirror their email format and level of formality.
- However long it takes them to respond to you, always respond to them promptly. Try to be as respectful of their schedule as possible.
Questions to Ask:
- Avoid generic questions.
- Do your research on them beforehand so that you can ask questions specific to them and their field.
- Only ask questions that you genuinely want to know the answer to.
- To build connection, use their name from time to time throughout the interview.
- Take notes while they’re talking.
- Use a pen and paper to take notes if the interview is face to face.
- Follow up on your interviewee’s suggestions.
- Read the book(s)/article(s) they suggested, connect with a person they recommended.
- Send a brief thank you email.
- Wait 24 hours and make the email highly personal to them and your conversation with them.
- Send a handwritten thank you note as well to their workplace (special touch).
Stay in Touch, Generously:
- Send them short and sweet updates over time.
- Share your progress on their suggestions with them.
- Note how your conversation with them is contributing to your own path.
How to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile and Network Using LinkedIn
(Links were sourced with permission from a workshop given by Peter Osborne on the Beginners’ Guide to LinkedIn, May 7th, 2018. Peter is the Assistant Director for Employer Relations at the Bates Center for Purposeful Work.)