The outcome of informational interviews is greatly impacted by the companies and contacts you approach. Barb Bruno shares some search ideas that can lead you in the right direction.
- This may seem obvious, but the outcome of informational interviews is greatly impacted by the companies and contacts you approach. You know the questions you need answered, but how do you find the right people to talk to? Let me share some search ideas that can lead you in the right direction. Start by making a list of everyone in your personal network, and I mean everyone, including family, friends, neighbors, teachers, anyone you know who's working.
Then determine which of these people can best connect you to other people within a specific company or industry. Next, list your professional network, including past employers, peers, subordinates, and clients. Include anyone you know who's working in the occupation or industry you're targeting for your informational interviews. Then go to your college or high school alumni database on LinkedIn or Facebook. Identify and make a list of individuals who are working in your targeted occupation or industry.
Connect with the head of your alumni association. They often have contacts with companies wanting to hire alumni. Ask for a list from the industry or occupation you're targeting. In every case, family and friends, people in your network, or the alumni director, ask for an introduction, or for permission to use their name. The people you're going to contact for informational interviews are more likely to respond when they know you have a shared connection.
Next, make a list of companies you'd love to work for, and the job titles or positions that interest you most. Don't only list Fortune 100 or 500 companies who receive hundreds of unsolicited resumes and CVs. Take time to identify mid-sized companies in your targeted industry, or who employ individuals in your targeted occupation. Identify people who are in an aspirational role at least two levels above the occupation you are seeking, but who aren't so high up that they wouldn't have time to meet with you.
Search LinkedIn to find people who work for one of your preferred companies and have your dream job. These are the people who have the best information. Look specifically for people with whom you have some sort of connection. Did you go to the same school? Do you belong to the same professional organization? Do you share any connections through LinkedIn? Those are the people who will be more likely to meet with you and give you advice. Read industry trade publications, industry-related blogs, and follow influential industry leaders on Twitter.
The articles and the trade publications often identify the movers and shakers in a profession or industry that are contacts you could target. The individuals who are influential industry leaders, or write blogs with a strong following, are well-networked, and also great targets for informational interviews. When you start having informational interviews, take notes, and take names. You'll often get referrals, or the insider may open doors for you to their own network.
These contacts are excellent targets because you were referred by someone they trust. Take the time to build your lists and start networking. When you master the art of the informational interview, your list of targeted companies and contacts will continue to grow until you eventually accept an amazing job offer.
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- Compare an informational interview to a job interview.
- Identify companies and contacts to interview.
- Prepare for an interview, by researching questions and updating your résumé.
- Conduct an informational interview.
- Analyze the results from your interview.