7 Tips on How to Use Informational Interviews to Get Your Dream Job (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)
Informational interviews helped me get my dream job to work in the front-office for an NBA team after I graduated from college in 2003. If you are not familiar with the term, an informational interview is a discussion you have in-person or over the phone with someone working in an industry or occupation that interests you. The goal of an informational interview is to learn more about an industry and/or position and to get advice on breaking into a field. Here are 7 tips on how to use informational interviews to get your dream job:
- Treat informational interviews like real interviews. Show up or call on time, and dress professionally if you are meeting in-person.
- Bring your resume with you. At the end of a face-to-face informational interview, ask the person you are meeting with for feedback and suggestions on your resume. You may get some good ideas on how to improve your resume, and this is a subtle, effective way to remind the person that you are looking for a job. Do NOT ask the other person to send out your resume for you.
- Be prepared to lead. Unlike a traditional job interview where the interviewer takes the lead, you have to run the meeting in an informational interview. You MUST prepare 5-10 questions that you want to ask in the informational interview. We’ll discuss the best questions to ask in an upcoming post.
- Be respectful of the other person’s time. Stick to the amount of time you agreed to when setting up the informational interview. 15 minutes is the standard duration for a phone conversation, and 20-30 minutes is typical for a face-to-face appointment.
- Start the right way. Begin the informational interview by making sure the time still works for the other person and by thanking him/her for meeting/speaking with you. Then, ask if you could share a quick 30-second background of yourself. It is important to share a well-constructed bio at the start of the interview because you want the other person to understand why you requested the meeting and because it gives you a chance to highlight some of your strengths. Be concise and prepare this 30-second bio in advance; do NOT improvise.
- Thank the other person. Send a short thank you note via email immediately after your conversation, while referencing any follow-up items or key takeaways from your discussion. You should also write a handwritten thank you note and mail it to the person immediately after your conversation. (You may need to ask for a mailing address during the call/meeting.) Thank you notes are imperative!
- Stay in touch. The person meeting with you wants to see you succeed. Keep him/her posted on your progress after the meeting, and make sure to let him/her know how you followed the advice given to you.
Informational interviews helped me get my dream job, and they can work for you, too! Want to learn what to ask in an informational interview? Make sure you are subscribed to this blog for tips to be covered in an upcoming post.
-Career Expert and Professional Speaker
-President of Idealize Enterprises
P.S. I speak about career success to students and young professionals nationwide. To learn more about my programs and speaking availability, please email me at Pete@IdealizeNow.com.