7 Reasons Why You Should Do Informational Interviews

Informational Interview
An informational interview is an excuse for you to connect with important people in your potential field. Most people are more than willing to give you a bit of their time if you’re prepared and eager to learn. During the half-hour to hour-long conversation, you’ll glean insider’s tips on your field and gather suggestions for future direction.

Not convinced? Here are seven reasons why you should do informational interviews:

  1. Discover the Prerequisites
  2. The most valuable information you can get about your field is from people who are already there, especially supervisors who worked their way up during their career. They can tell you exactly what kinds of candidates they’re looking for based on their own experiences and their reflections on other co-workers or employees that excel in the field.

  3. Find Out If The Field Is Right for You
  4. In learning about the optimal profile of someone successful in the field, you can assess if you fit the criteria. Imagine yourself living through a typical day as described by your contact and think about whether you would enjoy that kind of work for the long haul. Evaluate whether or not your personality is a match for the job and if the rewards outweigh the disadvantages for you. Don’t forget to take into account the salary range and the amount of time it will take for you to reach your ideal salary.

  5. Receive Help with Your Resume
  6. Your contact can help you identify skills that are necessary and most valued in the field and how these can be best presented in your curriculum vitae or resume. Bring a copy of your resume with you and get your contact’s opinion on the examples you give and how you describe your best qualities. Brainstorm together how you can get your resume to stand out to potential employers in your field.

  7. Glean Job Search Secrets
  8. Maybe there’s a single recruiter who’s most influential in the field, maybe you need to be introduced by a specific contact or maybe walking into the offices of potential employers and introducing yourself works best. You can also learn about the most reputable organizations and what they’re looking for in job candidates.

  9. Expand Your Network
  10. An informational interview isn’t the time to ask for a job, but if you give off a decent first impression, you’ll be remembered and your name could be passed on through the hidden job market. Every time you connect with a new person, you can ask if there are other people in the field they’d recommend you connect with. Your network can grow exponentially from the interview chain reaction and word of mouth.

  11. Become Comfortable in Professional Situations
  12. An informational interview is a formal meeting like any other, but the pressure’s off of you. People like talking about themselves, so if you prepare a solid arsenal of questions, including a few that tie in the interviewee’s background and experiences, you’re on your way. You’ll eventually become comfortable with wearing your professional attire to meetings and learn to feel in control of the situation, especially when you’re the one being interviewed in the future.

  13. Get Yourself on the Right Path
  14. When ending the informational interview, you can take the opportunity to ask for recommendations. Your contact can recommend what you personally need to work on to get yourself recognized in the field, publications with more information or other important people in the field that you should interview. Don’t forget to ask if you can use your contact’s name when introducing yourself. Others will be more likely to speak to you if they know that someone familiar referred you to them.

Can you think of other reasons informational interviews are important?

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4 Comments

  1. Vincent Tufano
    Posted May 7, 2011 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    Excellent advice. I wish I had you as an advisor when i was job hunting

  2. Samantha Bangayan
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Aw thanks so much, Vinny! =) I hope I’m providing valuable information! =)

  3. Posted May 16, 2011 at 1:44 am | Permalink

    These are all really great tips and advice Samantha. Preparing ahead of time whether it is for a job interview or interviewing an online guru, it is such a huge benefit to get as much information as you can. You will impress your future boss or build an alliance with a fellow entrepreneur when they know you have information about them and their business.

  4. Samantha Bangayan
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    Yes! Preparation is key and the connections are invaluable! Thanks for your input as a successful business-lady yourself, Lynn! =)

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