We often hear that it is beneficial to network, find a career mentor, etc., but how exactly do we get the most out of these interactions and relationships? We need to ask the right questions. Not everyone has the same experience, so check in and ask these questions of a few different people when networking. Try to source from a diverse range of people to see all angles.
What advice would you give to someone new to the industry/looking to get into the industry?
The answer to this question could save you valuable time and money. Find out what they thought was the most helpful thing they did in their career, what they believe may have been a waste, or what they wish they would have done.
What does your typical day look like?
You may be imagining what your life may look like pursuing a particular career path. It is essential to learn what each day looks like from someone who lives their life in the industry daily. It is easy to see only one aspect of a job/industry and assume that is how every day or every position goes, for good or for bad. When networking, get a few different people’s perspectives to better understand what your days may entail.
What do you find challenging about your position/the industry?
You do not want to be caught off guard with your head in the clouds. Find out what people struggle with in your industry and consider if these difficulties are some you are willing/able to deal with. Ask about anything you have seen from the outside that seems like an obstacle to get an experienced professional’s opinion. While networking is about connections, support, and learning new things, it is also crucial to learn the nitty gritty details.
What qualities do successful people possess in your field?
Knowing the general temperament and characteristics of people in the field can be an excellent way to gauge how well you may do in that career. It can be very helpful to know if your qualities can thrive and further your career in the field that you are looking to break into. If there are beneficial qualities that you can build on, spend some time strengthening them.
Networking is all about asking the right questions. These four questions are great jumping points for finding out more about jobs and asking specific questions.