Conduct Informational Meetings
What is an informational interview?
Talking to people who are currently working in the field to gain a better understanding of an occupation or industry — and to build a network of contacts in that field in order to ultimately land a job. The purpose of informational interviewing is not to get job offers. Job offers just happen to be a delightful side benefit to this valuable practice.
Why informational interviewing?
1 out of 200 vs. 1 out of 12. What odds would you prefer for securing a job? When you make a connection with someone within your target company, your odds of eventually securing a job with that company increases significantly. But remember, securing a job is not the immediate goal of informational interviewing.
Step 1. Set a goal (# of phone calls to make)
Step 2. Start a spreadsheet in Excel and save
(Columns should include: Name, Company, Address, Title, Phone #, Email, Date/Location of Interview, & Notes)
Step 3. Research: Decide which companies/contacts you will reach out to and input this information into
your Excel sheet. (Use company websites and Linkedin.com)
Step 4. Prepare your introduction/elevator speech
Step 5. Practice!
Hello, my name is Joe and I am a student at College of DuPage studying Accounting. I understand that you are a Sr. Staff Accountant at XYZ Company. Do you have a moment to speak with me regarding your career path? (Pause, wait for response). I was hoping that you could help me gain insights into this profession as I am graduating soon. I’m sure that my questions could be answered in a 20-30 minute informational interview. Would you be open to meeting with me?
You Will Need
- Phone (Be sure your phone is charged and that you are in a quiet area where you have full reception)
- Excel Spreadsheet – this will also act as your checklist!
- Your calendar
- Notebook and Pen
After the Call
Confirm your appointments with a follow-up email re-stating:
- Topic of discussion (their career path)
Dear Mr. Smith:
Thank you for taking the time to meet with me on April 15, 2010 at 2:00 pm at the Starbucks located at 200 N. LaSalle Street. I look forward to learning more from you about a career in finance.
The Day of the Informational Interview
- Bring your resume and a notebook/pen. Do not present your resume unless they request it.
- Bring your list of questions, choose 5 to focus on
- Dress professionally!
- Map out your route beforehand
- Arrive 10 minutes early
- Firm handshake
- “Thank you for meeting with me today.”
- Upbeat and enthusiastic
- You are in control. Enjoy it!
- Strong eye contact
- Approach the interview as though you are seeking career advice
Closing the Informational Interview
- Do not ask for a job or about job openings
- Ask for referrals (“Who else do you recommend I meet with?”)
- Thank them again for their time
Short term: Email a thank you (If a job opening/opportunity was discussed, mention your interest and attach your resume)
Long Term: Email once a month to update on your job search