Ask People You Already Know
Talk to professors, old co-workers, friends, career coach, family, etc. Tell them what you are interested in learning about and then ask them if they know anyone who would be good to talk to.
You can do this informally in a conversation that you are already having or you can ask them to meet and bring it up. If you know the person well, you can text them or less well, send an email.
Pro Tip: Add these people into your Networking tracker after you reach out to remind yourself for the next time you are going through your job search.
How to Search for People on LinkedIn
Step 1: Expand your connectedness on LinkedIn. The more people you are linked with and the more groups you join, the easier this process will be.
Step 2: Set learning objective. This will help you narrow down potential people. You reach out to different people depending on your objective. For example, you may want to learn more about:
A company you are interested in.
A career path.
Different types of roles within an area.
A role that you want to apply to or have already applied to.
Step 3: Identify search keywords that you could use to search for people who know about your topic.
Step 4: Use LinkedIn advanced search to look for people.
Are you filtering by company? By role? By location? Alumni of your school only? Or does it not matter?
Step 5: Look for similarities. Once you have your search results, scan the list and look for people who have commonalities with you. Ask yourself, “Who would be willing to talk to me” or “Who would feel guilty if they didn’t respond to me?” Depending on the results, you may need to narrow down or expand the search.
Step 6: Enter into your tracker the name of the person, how you’re connected, and a link to their profile.
Your School’s Career Center
Many schools have an alumni networking or mentoring program, specifically created with the intent to help current students get advice and perspectives on jobs, careers, majors, etc. Check your career center’s website or meet with a career counselor at your school to see what resources are offered.
If there’s not a formal program, there’s usually some sort of way to access an alumni database, which can provide you with contact info if you know who want to reach out to. Your tuition dollars have already paid for these services, so be sure to take advantage of them!