Often when I discuss networking with people, they focus on two main issues:
- A discomfort with entering a large room of people for a networking event.
- An uncertainty on how to find people to network with in the schools or districts they are interested in working for.
LinkedIn can help you with both of these problems. Although attending networking events and career fairs is an important aspect of job searching, an informational interview is another nice way to network with a professional in a 1:1 setting, controlled by the job seeker. This can often ease some of the stress that comes along with the whole concept of networking. Typical questions asked during an informational interview include:
- What do you like most/least about your job, this school, this district?
- What advice would you give someone hoping to work in this school?
- What professional organizations have you found helpful?
- What is the most valuable thing you learned in college that has contributed to your success here?
How can you go about finding people on LinkedIn? Easy! Use the “Groups” section of LinkedIn to strategically find professionals who may be of interest to you. Some helpful groups for teachers include:
- Teachers Networking Group - 20,000 members
- AAEE - more than 200 members
- Alumni groups from your university
Once you have joined a group, you can search through the members to find professionals who work at schools of interest to you. Reach out to connect with the professional and request an informational interview. When you do so, be sure to provide context for the professional. Provide information on how you found them (through which group), who you are, and why you are interested in speaking with them. This will help provide a solid groundwork for continued conversation.
Remember, in a job search, you can never do too much networking!
Christine Falcone, MS, NCC
Saint Joseph’s University (Pennsylvania)
The opinions expressed in Career Corner are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.