Informational interviewing can be an effective strategy for identifying and locating a new career opportunity. For one, informational interviewing is a form of networking which has been proven to be the most effective method used in the job hunt. During an informational interview, you should be meeting one-on-one with your contact while communicating you professional background and your career goals. You should share your target company list with your networking contact as well as any target roles that interest you. But how do you make this meeting even more productive? There are four key points to keep in mind:
- Ask your industry contact to share their personal thoughts on the industry, including current trends and future opportunities
Who better to help you with your career search than industry professionals that have experience working in your industry? These professionals can share insider information, including what companies may have opportunities and even what companies you may want to avoid. These same professionals may be able to provide insight as to what other positions or industries may be a good fit for you based on your career history and current career goals.
- Share your personal marketing plan with your contact and ask for feedback on your target positions and target companies
If you have not created a personal marketing plan, you are doing your career search a huge disservice. A personal marketing plan, also known as a networking profile, is one of the first documents you should create. This document will help you organize and target you career search and help you prepare for your information interviews. It includes your initial list of target positions that you are considering as well as your list of initial target companies that you would like to work for.
- Ask for names of other individuals who may be able to help you
To keep your networking pipeline full, it is important to ask each and every networking contact you meet to share with you names of additional people that can provide you with career-related information. Information such as names of companies to add to your target list or names of decision makers that you should meet will be of value.
- Ask for permission to follow up with your networking contact in a week
Follow up is key to networking. After meeting with you, your contact may have discovered new information that can benefit your job search. Following up after a week can give you access to this information and will keep your name top of mind. Also, follow up is just good networking etiquette.