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Networking Questions to Ask

Updated: 6 days ago

Networking is a valuable way to explore career options, engage with professionals in your field of interest, and gain insights for your job or internship search. In this blog post, we provide a range of questions to guide your networking conversations and informational interviews with Lehigh alumni. Select a few questions to ask during your next phone call, virtual chat, or in-person meeting to ensure you are prepared and can make the most of the interaction! Additionally, we've included example outreach messages to demonstrate how you can leverage alumni support throughout your career journey.

Finding networking connections

Lehigh Connects

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 with Lehigh Connects, read the Hire Lehigh Blog post: Lehigh Connects.

LinkedIn

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 request an informational interview.

For more help with LinkedIn, read the Hire Lehigh Blog post: Lehigh Connects vs LinkedIn.


Prepare for your networking conversation

As you are identifying individuals on LinkedIn and Lehigh Connects who can support your current goals, use the examples below to:


  1. Make a list of 10-12 questions that would be helpful for you to discuss.

  2. Prepare an outreach message to begin your networking conversation.


Always start the conversation by introducing yourself and clarifying the purpose of your outreach (i.e. seeking help with choosing a major, learning about a career path, searching for internships, preparing for interviews, etc.). For more help preparing for an informational interview, read the Hire Lehigh Blog post: Informational Interviewing


Example Networking Questions & Outreach Messages

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?

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?

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?

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?

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?

Company Research 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?

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 or colleague I could also talk with to learn about other positions?

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.)?

Networking is a learned skill and can be very helpful for job and internship seekers. We hope you will start practicing your networking skills today!


Additional help with networking:


About the Author

This blog post was written by Andrea Reger, former Associate Director and Career Coach for the College of Arts & Sciences at Lehigh University's Center for Career & Professional Development.


June 2024 Disclaimer: The information in this blog post has been reorganized and updated for clarity and relevance.



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5 Comments


grv222
Mar 11, 2022

I learned so much reading this, awesome stuff to know!

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Rebecca Yamoah
Rebecca Yamoah
Mar 11, 2022

I love the inclusion of questions for various networking topics. It gives students a starting point when reaching out to Lehigh alumni. Super useful!

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Maia Drugmand
Maia Drugmand
Feb 28, 2022

This was super helpful and really helped me prepare for my networking calls!

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Caitlyn Somma
Caitlyn Somma
Feb 28, 2022

Great post!

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Wolfy Culleton
Wolfy Culleton
Feb 28, 2022

This was really interesting as I also feel warry of my major and also what kinds of jobs I can get with mine. This is a great guide to college and post college life.

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