Networking and Research

Research and learning are a big part of your student journey, and they are also pivotal to your career journey. As you develop your career, you will need to do some research and take a few small risks, such as interacting with others or conducting information interviews. Networking, building connections, and learning about different careers and career paths can bolster your journey with confidence and knowledge. Focusing on a proactive strategy for career exploration can even lead you towards navigating the hiring process with more ease.


As you are developing your career, you will need to do some research, and take a few small risks, such as interacting with others, and engaging with people or environments that allow you to experiment and explore. If the result leads to finding work you love, this is a great investment! 

If you don’t already know how to do conversational research with people, here are some tips: 

Why do I need to learn to interview people? 

Talking to someone who does work you’re curious about is a highly effective way to learn more about that career path, organization, and industry. 

While the key objective is gathering insights and advice, the people you meet may also be your link to future ideas, collaborations, and even opportunities. 

You can think of it like asking for directions, or asking where to go, or where to look for more information. This isn’t about using people. We all need a little help finding where we are going sometimes. 

Ways that networking helps you find the answers to “what is the best next step?” 

  1. Start with some conversational research. This builds connections and helps you learn about the job market in the cities and countries you hope to work. Who is someone you can talk to in your network that is doing interesting work? Work with a Career Education Specialist, Advisor, or Faculty member to generate ideas and contacts. 

  2. Follow conversations online, with people embedded in the range of potential careers that might suit you. You can post replies or share posts, and increase your interactions casually.

  3. Apply your knowledge and skills in ways that help you learn more about your likes and dislikes (eg. volunteer, pursue a personal project or hobby, find related part-time or seasonal work, get involved in a club or initiative that matters to you).

  4. Get inspired for experimental projects to test-run your ideas. There are many ‘challenges’ online to get involved in groups, or ways to build your portfolio in creative ways. 
  5. Interacting with people outside your friend network can help you overcome the fear of change, and practice taking risks, being curious, and having courage and persistence - excellent work and life skills to build. 

  6. Generating holistic ways of seeing and doing, is essential to your wholeness as a person. As you observe and learn about other people’s paths, and hear about their challenges and wins, you’ll expand your sense of what it is to develop a career and life that is diverse. 

How to approach experiential learning and prepare for new experiences?

  • Testing out your interests in different environments through hands-on learning scenarios, are vital to develop your confidence, expand your abilities, and prepare you to be able to contribute to work or a workplace when you’re ready. 

  • When you experiment, you benefit from learning about what you like to do, and what different careers might look like. All of these  lead to more informed decisions about your career options.  

Ask a Career Education Specialist to help you make sense of all the options and check out our section on Networking for more tips on building these connections.

Networking, volunteering, and information interviews are valuable steps in your exploration.