Through the years, we have had students tell me that they are interested in consulting, financial services, and other roles but need to understand their target industries.

Networking for information is essential to job searches and overall career management.

Google searches, Glassdoor posts, and the internet contain information about all industries and roles. However, a conversation with someone in a particular position would be great.

Mine for Sources

If you are exploring specific industries and roles, approach the professionals from those domains. Ask your friends and classmates to recommend. Search on LinkedIn, especially for alumni in your target industries.

For introverts, reaching out to strangers can be intimidating. Remember that the worst-case scenario is that the other party will not respond or politely decline, which is a painless outcome.

Remember that some people always keep a free cup of coffee or tea. You will most likely be surprised at the number of positive responses.

Define Your Questions

When you meet someone for a coffee chat, there are four questions you can ask until you get a bit more comfortable exploring other queries.

The questions are as follows: Can you please tell me more about your job and what you do daily? What do you like the most about the job? Is there anything you do not like about your job? So lovely to talk with you. Is there anyone else that you recommend I should talk to?

Most people can talk for 15 to 30 minutes to answer these four questions. Please remember that you only ask for a job if they lead the conversation in that direction. These exchanges are meant to get information and to build a relationship with someone in the industry.

Refine Your Interest

After having three to four professionals in your target industry, the information gathered will confirm your interest or push you to focus elsewhere.

You will be loaded with plenty of inside information and industry-specific language that you can use during any future interviews.

And, in some instances, you will have found a supporter or friend that could last the rest of your career.


Networking for information is critical to any job search and overall career management.

It will help you learn significantly more about any industry or role, which will help you fine-tune the direction you would like to go.

It will help ensure that your target aligns with who you are. Please have coffee or tea with a professional in one of your target companies.

Learn more about developing a winning résumé, building a solid network, and other insights on professional growth from our regular Career Tips series.