Not Using Informational Interviews? You’re Missing Out on Valuable Networking Opportunities!
September 8, 2023
Informational interviews are an essential part of networking, but many people don’t know what they are or how to use them effectively. If you would like to learn more about a particular industry or company, then informational interviews could be the perfect way to do it.
Informational interviews are an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about a particular industry or company. Be prepared with questions that you want answered, as well as some follow-up questions.
Informational interviews can help you prepare for your next interview by giving you insight into what employers expect from employees. But they can also be used as a way of gathering information about potential career paths and industries. If possible, try to schedule this type of conversation with someone who works in the same field as one of your target companies. So that he or she can provide advice on how best to proceed with your job search efforts.
Stepping stones into a new career or industry.
Informational interviews are a great way to help you find your next career opportunity. They can also be used as a stepping stone into a new industry, or even just as an exploratory tool.
When looking for people to interview, look for people who supervise the job you want. (It’s also okay to look for people who are doing the job you want to do.) For example, if you want to work in marketing at Big Company X then find someone who supervises the person who does marketing at Big Company X and ask them about their experience there. You could also try reaching out on LinkedIn or Facebook–just be careful that it’s not spammy!
When conducting these interviews make sure that the questions asked are open-ended questions. These will encourage more detailed answers from the other person and give them an opportunity to talk about themselves more than anything else (which is why we’re here, right?).
It’s important not only what questions get asked but also how they get answered during this process so don’t forget this step either! Definitely follow up with a thank you email (a $5 or $10 Starbucks card is a nice thank you). If anything else popped up that you didn’t ask during the interview, then follow up on that as well.
Great way to build your confidence
Informational interviews are a great way to build your confidence when changing careers or switching industries. Asking questions, learning more about a career, building relationships and networking with people in the industry all help you gain valuable insight into what might be right for you. The more prepared and knowledgeable you are about a new field of work, the better chance you’ll have at making an informed decision about whether or not it’s worth pursuing further.
After conducting several informational interviews with program analysts, Jackie learned about the skills and experience required for a job. She used this information to tailor her resume and cover letter, and she was eventually offered a job as an program analyst in the engineering field.
It’s okay to start small and work your way up in the world of informational interviews.
You don’t have to start with the president of your company. You can start small and work your way up in the world of informational interviews. The best way to do this? Ask for a low-stakes interview from someone close to you. Like friends or family member who may have plenty of valuable advice for you.
Once you’ve gotten some practice under your belt and feel comfortable asking for more high-stakes interviews. Reach out to your LinkedIn connections. Maybe the CEO of a local business would be interested in talking with you about his career path? Or perhaps an industry expert could share some insights into how he got started in his field? Whatever it is that interests you most right now, go after it!
If you’re not using informational interviews, it’s time to start!
Informational interviews are a great way to build your confidence and get a feel for the industry or company before you make a career change. You can start small if this makes you a little nervous. You don’t need to approach famous people right away, LOL! Though if you do end up meeting someone famous, make sure they know who YOU are. You’d be surprised how willing people are to share. Especially if they have time in their schedule.
Informational interviews are an amazing way to learn more about a career or industry. They give you a chance to ask questions. And build your confidence whether you are doing a functional career change, a geographical career change or an industry career change. You have an opportunity to find out more information about the job duties and tasks. As well as valuable information the company before applying for jobs there. Remember to add the interviewee to your network. This makes informational interviewing a win-win. So if you’re not already using them as part of your job search strategy then now is the time!
Twanna Carter, PhD, ICF Professional Certified Coach (PCC), is a career coach and relationship coach for Twanna Carter Professional & Personal Coaching, LLC.
Dr. Twanna is an expert in career coaching for Black women leaders, with a proven track record of helping women achieve their career goals. With more than 20+ years of experience, Dr. Twanna is recognized as an expert in leadership, personal development, business strategy, career development, and lifestyle balance. Helping professional women navigate change and uncertainty by providing them with the tools and strategies they need to be successful.