An informational interview is a meeting that you schedule with an employee at the company of your choice to learn more about their organization. Perhaps there’s a job you really want, but you just can’t seem to attract anybody with your application. You are never called back for an interview.
There’s one thing you can do differently to put yourself way ahead of the game and guarantee a job in no time:
Schedule an informational interview.
This article will show you what it is and how to do that.
Adding a Personal Touch is Powerful
Why bother reaching out to someone when you can get the same information from them online? Well, there are actually a multitude of reasons:
- You can never exchange Internet knowledge for real-life experience.
- Reaching out to somebody directly is something that not a lot of people do anymore, so it will add a special meaning.
- You are acting professional by reaching out to prospective networks and taking matters into your own hands.
Hone your networking skills to find contacts at a company you desire. Ask those people to sit with you for coffee or a quick lunch so you can get more information about the business.
Practice Your Interview Skills
Aside from the fact that you are establishing a network of connections early, which is already wonderful, you also have another distinct advantage above your competition:
You are practicing your interviewing skills.
Think of these informational meetings as an informal, impromptu interview. You’re meeting with someone from the company so you can get a taste for what the company culture is like. Maybe they will ask you questions about yourself too, so you can practice giving your elevator pitch.
Focus on the Relationship
Getting a great job sometimes requires patience. The goal of these informational interviews is to form a connection with someone, not trying to get a job right away. Don’t chase someone off before you’ve been able to turn them into a solid network for future job prospects. These relationship-building skills are highly valuable in almost every type of business setting.
Starting warm means not having to make “cold calls”. Don’t start the networking process by reaching out to someone you don’t know. Instead, get in touch with a friend, family member, or college buddy that you know would be willing to meet with you. After you’ve established those connections safely, you can start to reach out to the people you learn about online or through company directories.
Reach Out Casually
You can be casual and friendly when you reach out to someone you don’t know. It does not need to be a formal-sounding letter or a serious request for an hours-long conference. Instead, send them a brief message on LinkedIn or via email about how much you admire their work. Tell them you’ve been interested in that same topic yourself and you’d love to talk to them more about what they do. Ask them if they have a quick 15 minutes to chat in person or over the phone. From there, you can start building your network.