Making Connections

If you’ve ever had to pick people for your group or team, chances are you asked your friends to recommend people they know. In much the same way, recent studies indicate that nearly 80% of the positions available are filled through personal referrals. Networking is nothing more than talking with people who can provide you with information, advice, resources, and possible contacts related to your fields of interest. Develop your connections to learn about opportunities beyond campus interviews or what is posted on Crimson Careers

Engage with peers, alumni, professionals:

Engaging with peers and professionals will be important as you consider your next steps.



  • Attend workshops about the academic job search.
  • Engage in a variety of professional development activities:
    • Present research seminars in your department.
    • Attend professional conferences (even virtual!).
    • Network with professionals in your field.
    • Attend professional development events.
    • Attend Bok Center Teaching Orientations.
    • Serve on a committee in your department, or organize a conference or seminar series.
    • Organize a career event in your department. For ideas and tips, see the Professional Development Template for GSAS Departments.

OCS Firsthand Advisers


Hundreds of Harvard alumni representing a variety of fields and professions have signed up on the Firsthand Advisers platform to connect with you. Get advice on different career pathways, strengthen your informational interviewing skills, and expand your network.

What it is:  

A platform that connects you with Harvard alumni from around the world for a:

  • Career conversation,
  • Resume review, or
  • Mock interview.

What to do:

Search alumni profiles and sign up for informal conversations with alumni that interest you.

How to do it:

Go to the Firsthand platform, click the “Get Advice” button, and set up a password. Then use the platform to search, message, and schedule a meeting time with an alum.

What to say:

Check out the OCS tips and questions to prepare and to get the most out of your discussion. Questions might include:

  • What was your first job after you left Harvard?
  • How did you spend your summers while you were an undergraduate?
  • What skills did you learn at Harvard that have helped you throughout your career?
  • What are your favorite parts of your job? What do you find most challenging?
  • What changes have you seen in your industry given the COVID pandemic?
  • Based on my skills, education, and experience, what other career paths do you suggest I explore?
  • Who else would you recommend I speak with?

Explore options, get connected, and jumpstart your career!