Are you tired of applying to countless job listings without success? Have you considered using informational interviews as a networking strategy?
In this post, we will explore the world of informational interviews and how they can benefit your job search and help you build a strong network. We will also provide guidance on how to request and conduct successful interviews, including what questions to ask and how to follow up.
What is an informational interview?
An informational interview is a conversation between a job seeker and a professional in a particular field or industry. Unlike a job interview, the purpose is not to be evaluated for a specific position. Instead, it's an opportunity for you to learn about an industry or job role and gather insights and advice from someone who is already established in the field.
What can an informational interview do for you?
The benefits of informational interviews are numerous. Firstly, they provide valuable insights into a particular industry or role that can help you make more informed career decisions. Additionally, they allow you to make meaningful connections with professionals who can offer valuable advice and potentially even serve as a reference or mentor in the future.
How to find your people.
To request and conduct an informational interview, first identify professionals you would like to connect with. Look for people in your field of study or the industry you are interested in moving to, which can be done through LinkedIn, networking events, other professional communities, or an in-depth Google search. While researching people to connect with, take detailed notes so you can craft specific and interesting questions for your interview.
Requesting an informational interview.
When reaching out to potential interviewees, be clear about your intentions and goals for the conversation. Explain that you are seeking advice and insights into the industry and be specific about why you are interested in speaking with them. Mention their expertise and whatever drew you to them.
What do you want to know?
Once you've secured an informational interview, come prepared with thoughtful questions that demonstrate your interest in not only the industry but them specifically. This shows that you have done your homework. Some great questions to ask might include:
- What inspired you to pursue a career in this industry, and what do you find most fulfilling about it?
- How has your career progressed in this industry, and what were some of the biggest challenges you faced along the way?
- What are some of the current trends and innovations in the industry that excite you the most?
- Can you describe a typical day in your role, and what are some of the key skills and qualities needed to succeed in this field?
- What advice would you give to someone just starting out in this industry, and what are some common mistakes to avoid?
- How has the pandemic affected the industry, and what changes do you anticipate in the future?
- What are some of the most important values and ethics that professionals in this industry should uphold?
- What are some of the most exciting projects you are currently working on, and what are your goals for the future?
- How can someone interested in this industry get involved or gain more experience, and what resources do you recommend for learning more about the field?
Remember, the purpose of the interview is to learn and gather insights, not to ask for a job. It's also important to be respectful of your interviewee’s time and to keep the conversation focused and on-topic.
Following up after your interview.
After the interview, make sure to follow up with a thank-you note or email expressing your gratitude for their time and insights. It's also a good idea to stay in touch over time, whether through periodic check-ins or by sharing relevant articles or resources.
Informational interviews can be a powerful networking strategy for job seekers. By approaching the process with a clear purpose, being prepared with thoughtful questions, and following up appropriately, you can build valuable connections and gather insights that can help you achieve your career goals.
So, reach out to people you admire, start building your network, and take your career to the next level.
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