Making & Maintaining Connections

Networking through informational interviews (also known as curiosity conversations, office hours, alumni career conversations, etc.) is all about connecting with others who share similarities with you–whether it’s being a Swattie to having similar career interests, this is an effective tool to learn about career pathways.

Its purpose isn’t to “schmooze” your way into an offer; rather it’s to identify people in your network (Swarthmore, personal, etc) who you can call upon for their knowledge. It’s up to you to apply that knowledge to make sure your application materials are competitive for that industry, organization or job function.

Conversation topics include:

  • Answers to specific questions
  • Career advice
  • Insight about a job or internship announcement you’ve seen posted
  • Tips on how to gain experience or break into their line of work


A group of people working together sitting at a table with their laptops.

Where to Network

Use LinkedIn and Alumni Directory to research and contact alumni to learn about career paths. Use LinkedIn to search and identify alumni, and then use the Alumni Directory to contact them.

Someone explaining something both looking at a computer screen.

How to Initiate Contact

Once you’ve identified alumni to connect with, email them to set up informational interviews. Info interviews should be used to learn about career paths, gain knowledge in a specific industry, organization, or job function; they aren’t used strictly for the purpose of “getting a job.” The info you gain from informational interviews should be used to better inform you on how to best prepare your application materials!

woman on a headset talking to someone

What to Ask During the Curiosity Conversation or Informational Interview

Before speaking with the individual, learn what you can about the contact/alum and their place of work. Develop a list of open-ended questions that will help you achieve your goal of the conversation.

man using his phone and computer responding to a message

After the Conversation Conversation or Informational Interview

Make sure to send a “thank you” email letting your contact know you’re grateful for the time and info they shared with you. If you haven’t connected with them on LinkedIn yet, this would be an opportune time to do that as well. As your plans start to develop, keep them posted–your contacts like to know that their info helped lead you to an offer!

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Employer & Interview Insights

Build Skills

Swarthmore & External Resources

Swarthmore Alumni Online Community

This online community allows Swarthmore alumni to connect with each other as well as mentor current students.

Out Professionals

Out Professionals is the leading nonprofit networking organization for LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning) professionals in the USA. Our …

Swarthmore College’s Black Cultural Center (BCC) strives to critically engage students whose educational, intellectual, and personal interests include issues of …

Swarthmore Alumni Council: Career Conversations

Students are encouraged to reach out to the following Alumni Council members. The Council members are happy to chat with …

Request an Interview Room

Complete this form to reserve a worry-free space for your important call or interview. You will receive an email confirmation …

Networking 101 Guide

Contact & Location

(610) 328–8352

500 College Ave.
Parrish Hall 135
Swarthmore, PA 19081

Career Service Hours

Monday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Tuesday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Wednesday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Thursday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Friday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm

Office closed daily from 12–1pm for lunch.