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Networking Questions to Ask

Updated: Mar 18, 2022

Networking is an excellent way to learn about career options, ask questions to professionals in a field of interest and gather advice for your job or internship search. In this blog post, we have provided dozens of questions to ask a networking connection. Pick out a few questions to ask during your next phone call, virtual chat or in person meeting with a Lehigh alumni so that you are ready to kick off the conversation and make the most of the interaction.

Finding networking connections

Browse the network of thousands of Alumni profiles on Lehigh Connects. You have immediate access to the message feature so you can communicate with the alumni on the platform who have volunteered to support students with career exploration and prep. (For more help read the Hire Lehigh Blog post: Lehigh Connects)

Visit the Lehigh LinkedIn Alumni Page and use the filters to find a networking connection. Use the “Connect” button and include a note that shares your Lehigh background and 1-2 career questions. (For more help read the Hire Lehigh Blog post: Lehigh Connects vs LinkedIn)

Prepare for your networking conversation

Always start a message or conversation by introducing yourself and clarifying the purpose of your conversation (i.e. help with choosing a major, learning about a career path, advice for job or internship searching, interview prep, etc). If you are using a virtual platform like Lehigh Connects or LinkedIn, your contact may choose to respond via message, email or by scheduling a phone call to answer your questions. Using the list of questions below, put together a list of 10-12 questions that would be helpful for you.

Academic background questions

  • How did you choose your academic major?

  • What academic minors do you think compliment your work?

  • I am building my class schedule, do you have any class recommendations for me?

  • Can you share some of your favorite classes or professors?

  • What topics from classes/assignments from courses are related to your work?

  • Was there a specific class that best prepared you for your career?

  • Did you list any academic projects on your resume or linkedin profile?

  • Did you put more value on your GPA or other activities like internships, research, clubs, study abroad, etc?

  • Do you feel your undergraduate degree prepared you for the world of work?

  • Should I pursue a masters degree directly following undergrad or work for a few years first?

  • What masters degrees best align to your industry?

  • Who would you suggest I talk with next to learn more about possible academic and career pathways for _____ degrees/majors?

Job details questions

  • What part of your job do you enjoy the most? The least?

  • How did you get into this type of work?

  • What three skills do you use most often?

  • What are some of the more challenging projects or tasks related to your position?

  • How did you advance your career?

  • Describe how you find satisfaction with your work.

  • How does your job affect your home and family life?

  • How do your personal values align with this job?

  • What do you think the future of your industry/position/company will be?

  • Is there a coworker to colleague I could also talk with to learn about other positions?

Career Exploration Questions

  • What must a person do to stay competitive in this field?

  • How does my academic major relate to the work you do/your industry?

  • Can you describe a typical project or day at work?

  • What does a typical career path look like in your industry?

  • Is there a demand for people in this occupation and job security?

  • How do you see jobs in this field changing in the future?

  • How important is GPA vs research, internship, study abroad or other types of related experience?

  • How do you suggest I learn more about this field?

  • What type of student involvement would help me learn more about this industry?

  • Could I job shadow you to learn more about the work you do?

  • Is there anyone else you can connect me with to learn more about careers in this industry?

Career Preparation Questions

  • What should I be doing as a freshman/sophomore/junior to prepare for a career like yours?

  • What kind of campus involvement would prepare me to work in this industry?

  • What clubs, volunteer programs or organizations on campus/in the community should I join?

  • Which professional associations should I join?

  • What professional journals, books, and articles do you recommend I read?

  • What kind of related experience should I build on my resume?

  • What skills should I focus on developing?

Internship Search Questions

  • How best could I use my summer to gain industry related experience?

  • What kind of experiences should I apply for that would relate to your industry?

  • If I wanted to intern with your company, what is the best way to approach the application process or hiring manager?

  • Do you know of any open internships within your company or another organization that I could apply to?

  • What are common timelines for when applications open for internships?

  • Would you be willing to review my resume/cover letter/application before I apply with your company?

  • Would you be willing to serve as a reference for me?

  • Could I meet with you to tour the company and meet the other members of your team/department?

  • What online job boards or search methods do you recommend to find internship options?

  • What type of questions should I be prepared for in my internship interview?

  • What suggestions do you have for me to maximize my internship experience?

  • What type of dress code should I expect during my internships?

  • What skills should I develop during my internship?

  • What type of feedback should I ask my internship manager for?

  • What type of out of pocket expenses should I prepare for during my internship?

  • Are internships in your industry typically paid or unpaid?

  • Could I find temporary work, remote work or internships in the summer or during the year as well?

Job Search Questions

  • Are specific leadership roles/skills/personality types/experiences preferred by hiring managers at your company?

  • Do you know of any open positions with your company or another organization that I could apply to?

  • What job boards or websites should I visit to find open positions in your industry?

  • Do you have any contact or referrals to industry professionals I could contact to inquire about future openings?

  • What are common job titles for entry level positions in your field?

  • What are common timelines for when applications open, interviews or offers to be made?

  • What key skills or experiences should I emphasize on my resume?

  • What are buzzwords or industry lingo that I should know or add to my resume?

  • Would you be willing to review my resume/cover letter/application before I apply with your company?

  • Could I practice some interview questions with you?

  • Would you be willing to serve as a reference for me?

  • What online research should I complete to identify companies in your industry?

  • What type of dress code should I expect to wear during a typical work day?

  • Could you help me better understand benefits and retirement contributions?

Company research based questions

  • I saw on your company’s twitter feed the internship team last summer was involved with Habitat for Humanity. Do you expect this year’s cohort to take on a similar project?

  • I have noticed several companies in your industry mention ________ in their mission statements, how does that affect the type of work you do?

  • Reading through your LinkedIn page I see we both studied ________ as undergrads, can you tell me how you leveraged your degree and related skills within your organization?

  • I read an article about how your company has been leveraging new technology, how do entry level positions or interns use the new software?·

  • I know there are several Lehigh grads working within your organization, how would you suggest I reach out to them?

First 30 days questions

  • What type of expenses should I expect the first few months of working?

  • Do I need to consider retirement and investment steps now?

  • What type of professional development opportunities should I look for?

  • Are there ways to make the most of my lunch break?

  • What tips do you have for me to adjust to 8-5 working hours?

  • Since I am new to commuting to the area, what do I need to know?

  • Are there key members of management/leadership I should meet?

  • What skill should I focus on developing during my first year in the industry?

  • How do I develop a 5 or 10 year career plan?

  • Are there other young professionals in the field I could meet?

  • What type of feedback could I expect from my supervisor about my work?

Career Transition Questions

  • What skills can I transfer to a new industry?

  • How can I leverage my past experiences to a new position?

  • How do I determine if my values align with a new employer?

  • What can I ask to get a good sense of a company's culture?

  • I am looking to make a career change, how best should I time a job search?

  • Do you have advice for representing a gap in my resume?

  • When should I tell my current employer I am job searching/interviewing/quitting?

  • What is the best way to ask for a reference from a current employer?

  • Should I indicate I am job searching on my LinkedIn profile?

  • What are the best ways to gauge if I will be happy in a new job/company/industry?

  • Should I consider going back to school if I want to work in __________ industry?

  • Can you help me leverage my transferable skills on my resume or via interview prep?

Pre-Professional Questions (Pre-Health, Pre-Law, Pre-Graduate Study)

  • What made you decide to pursue a higher level of education?

  • Is having your masters/doctorate a requirement for your job?

  • What are your day-to-day clinical and non-clinical duties and responsibilities?

  • How did you decide on your speciality?

  • How does your job impact your general lifestyle?

  • How would your role look different if you worked in (private practice, a hospital, a free clinic, etc.)?

  • What did you do to prepare for professional school?

  • When selecting a professional program, what did you look for?

  • What professional materials/publications should I be reading in this field?

  • What are some of the trends you see in your area of (law, medicine, physics, sociology, etc.)?

Network is a learned skill and can be very helpful for students. We hope you will start practicing your networking skills today!

Additional help with networking

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