Informational interviewing is much more than what you do when you first graduate from college. It's a powerful tool that can lead to real jobs no matter what your stage of life or career.
Informational interviewing is defined simply as learning about a topic, such as a company or industry, by talking to someone who is knowledgeable about that topic.
It's an easy way to network since you're not asking about actual job openings. Your goal is to listen and learn from the person's experience--hear about how they got started and how they navigated their way to where they are today.
Let's say, you're interested in making a career change. As you talk to more people in the field you're considering, you'll gain a deeper understanding of the industry and what new opportunities may be available. You'll also build your list of contacts.
The nuts and bolts of informational interviewing can be summarized in the following steps:
The first step is identifying what information you're looking for. Whether you're researching a job, a company or considering a career change, it's important to know what your goal is for the conversation.
With this in mind, you can start to prepare a list of questions. Here are some examples to start.
Start with people you know and work your way to someone who can help you. Just like stepping-stones across a creek, conversations with one person will lead you to the next person and the next, until you reach your goal.
High school or college career centers and alumni associations can make it easy to set up informational interviews. But even if you don't have access to those resources, as mentioned in the previous newsletter, Why Aren't You Networking? using your own network is not as hard as you might think.
Once you have an idea of what information you're looking for, it's amazing what opportunities present themselves. You'll start to notice that virtually every conversation seems to turn into chance to network.
The typical informational interview usually goes as follows:
This allows you both to warm up and build rapport.
This allows you to get the information you need.
This allows you to thank the person and ask for additional contacts.
It's important to send each person a thank you note, even if it's a short email. You can thank them for their time and mention what you found particularly useful or interesting.
Informational interviewing can be a powerful tool that can open doors to your next job. Here's a short summary of how to get started:
And remember, no matter how much or how little information you get from each person, you can put it all to good use.
Always bring an updated resume to all your informational interviews. Use Resume Builder to access and update your resumes now.
A cover letter is a great way to request an informational interview. Use our New Cover Letter Builder to create your cover letter today.
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