There are new ways to connect with old friends, colleagues, and family members. Leverage social media, tap connections from every corner of your life, and think intergenerationally to get you to the next step.
- So if you haven't been in the job market for a while interviews can be a little scary. I've talked to so many people who've said, I haven't done an interview in 20 years. So the good news is there's one kind of interview that you could practice on immediately, and it's also something you probably need to do repeatedly if you're going to go through an encore transition. And that's an informational interview. So the informational interview is really when you go to someone who is more experienced than you are at the thing you're starting to do.
And there's some very basic principles you can follow, book an appointment, ask for some time, make it reasonable. Make it at their convenience. Go to where they are or offer to meet them wherever is most convenient to them, including by phone if it's not convenient to meet in person. And when you're at the informational interview be prepared. Be focused. Have a very specific set of questions or something you're trying to figure out. Don't just walk in and say I'm interested in this, what should I know? But have a set of questions that really can, can create an interesting dialogue.
It's really important to also follow up. So take some notes in the conversation. If somebody has offered you suggestions, offered to make introductions, offered to share resources, make sure to circle back on all of those things even if you don't want to pursue them. So if you don't want to pursue them you can acknowledge, I've done some more thinking, I'm going down a different path, but I so appreciate these various offers that you made. So in any instance make sure to follow up and to properly thank and to see if there's anything you can do to help that person in another situation.
So once you've mastered the informational interview, my hunch is you're going to use them all the time. And they'll be very, very helpful when you get to more high stakes interviews like job interviews. So if you haven't done a job interview in a while, there's a few things you should keep in mind to make sure you feel prepared. The first one is prepare. So for any job interview, have you done the research? Have you done your homework? Have you really studied the organization and the person that you're going to be meeting with? And once again, LinkedIn is a really good tool to use.
You could do all of that right on LinkedIn. Have you looked the person's, have you looked at their profile? Have you seen the kind of things they're posting? If they're active on LinkedIn? Are you familiar with that person's background? Look to the organization and see if the organization has been in the news or is putting out any news about itself? So it's much easier to do research on organizations and people than it's kind of ever been before. It's also a good idea to practice with someone. So maybe have a mock interview with someone you trust. We all get a little more comfortable when we start talking about ourselves and we play out how did my stories sound? How did I talk about my last transition? How did I talk about that particular thing I'm nervous about? So the best way to do that is really practice with someone you trust.
So a few things that I think come up particularly at this life stage have to do with working around people that might be much younger than you, often people who could be young enough to be your kids or your grandkids. I mean, we're going to have a workplace that has four or five generations together, so it means we're all having these experiences at work that actually will remind us sometimes of what it might be like to be working with an older or younger family member. So if you're the older person in that situation, especially if you're interviewing with someone much younger, try to think about humility.
How can you portray yourself both as a person who has a lot of experience but also a person who's comfortable not being the smartest person in the room, not always being the decision maker, perhaps even reporting to someone younger than you. So all of those things are very much in the conversation right now, because it's what a lot of us are experiencing when we show up at work in these new environments. So the other thing I thin you need to be prepared for is the question we all fear, which is aren't you overqualified for this job? If you've really had a lot of experience, even if you're moving to a new sector, the common assumption is that older people might be feeling too qualified to take on a role that may have less responsibility.
So it's good to think about what are some answers that make sense and what are some reasons you might even want to take a job where you might technically be overqualified? So maybe you want to learn something new. Maybe you're moving into a new field, and even though you have the skillset the field feels completely new. Or maybe you want to just work in a more dynamic environment around something you're passionate about, and to work for a cause you care about means that you're willing to do that in a more junior position or in a position that pays less than you've earned before.
But in any event, think about honest answers to these kinds of questions and come up with things that aren't just stock answers but that are truthful and feel right for you. And if you can't find those answers, maybe that interview isn't the right one for you.
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