Informational interviews are a great way to network, meet professionals in your field and gain advice about moving forward in your career. Informational interviews take of the pressure of interviewing for particular positions and instead allow you to ask questions, meet more informally and build relationships. You’re not asking directly for a job but rather seeking information and advice from another professional in the field.
Make a target list of people you’d like to meet with. Start with friends or acquaintances of your own personal network, and then think about your target companies, people you’ve worked with in the past, etc. You may not be able to get a meeting with all of them but there’s no harm in trying.
Of course if you’ve been given a contact by someone you already know it will be much easier to get in touch with someone. You might even get a personal phone number or email. Professionals you don’t know will take a little more work. Try to find the professionals on LinkedIn or call the company and ask to speak directly to them. You might need to be persistent and a little creative in figuring out how to reach them.
The more contacts you can meet with the better. The meetings are usually harmless and allow you to build your network and increase the number of people who can keep you in mind in case any job openings come up.
Come prepared with an updated resume, business cards or writing samples in case your contact asks for your resume or wants to see your work. You can also come prepared with a brief introduction about yourself and your professional experiences. Remember your contact shouldn’t feel like you’re asking for a job, so don’t offer your resume unless they invite you to do so.
Informational interviews are your chance to ask questions about the industry, your contact’s company or position and ask for any advice they can give you about breaking into the industry or transitioning to a different focus area in the field. You can ask them how they got into the field, what brought them to their current company, what a typical day looks like for them, etc. Just make sure to respect your contact’s time and stick to the time frame you previously agreed upon.
Towards the end of your informational interview, it’s okay to ask if based on the information you’ve shared with them they have any advice for you about breaking into the industry, landing an internship and so on; and if they would be willing to keep you in mind if they hear about any available positions. You can also ask if they have any other contacts in the business they think could be helpful for you to talk to.
Don’t forget to send a thank you letter or email immediately following your informational interview. Remember they’ve taken time out of their busy day to speak to you. Try to follow up every so often or find ways to briefly keep in touch so you continue to build the relationship.
During the last decade, RedStarResume has successfully written hundreds of professional resumes for candidates across the globe. From the student or entry level position to the CEO, our unique, custom-made resumes are written specifically to match the goals and desires of our clients and to help them land jobs.