Find a Job Using Informational Interviews

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We're all told that the most important thing we can do to find a job is to "network," but how do you actually do it? That's where the "Informational Interview" comes in. This presentation shows you how to request "coffee meetings" with impressive people in your industry. Learn what questions you should ask, and what to say during your informational interviews. Informational interviews helped me transition careers while moving from Philly to New York, and I wanted to share what I learned along the way. Feel free to reach out to me with questions/comments. mitch [at] findyourfirstrealjob [dot] com Check out more presentations/videos like this at


<p>M2U2_informationalInterviews</p> <p>INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEWS</p> <p>Ralph Waldo Emerson</p> <p>That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do, not that the nature of the thing has changed but that our power to do has increased.</p> <p>INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEWS</p> <p>UNIT OVERVIEW</p> <p>1. How Do I Meet Decision Makers?</p> <p>2. Finding People to Interview</p> <p>3. Requesting an Interview</p> <p>4. Preparing for the Interview</p> <p>5. Following Up</p> <p>HOW DO I MEET DECISION MAKERS?</p> <p>Connecting with the right people</p> <p>to jump-start your career</p> <p>"It's not what you know, it's who you know.</p> <p>"Network, network, network.</p> <p>Networking is what led to my first job</p> <p>"Utilize networks because it's very difficult to have your resume selected from the hundreds of others.</p> <p>We all know that best way to get a job is by networking</p> <p>But, what does that even mean?</p> <p>Networking is about building healthy relationships with professionals in the industry you want to work in</p> <p> I didnt go to an Ivy League school</p> <p> My family doesnt have any contacts</p> <p> I realized that job fairs are just a bunch of other people who are looking for jobs</p> <p>BUT I DONT KNOW ANYBODY</p> <p>Because we dont know how to network we revert to doing something easy: tweaking our resumes</p> <p>So how do you connect with impressive people when you dont know where to begin?</p> <p>Informational Interviews</p> <p>WHAT IS AN INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEW?</p> <p> An informational interview is an interview that you request with a professional whom you admire</p> <p> In the interview, you ask them questions to find out if their career path is something you would like to pursue</p> <p> An added bonus is you get to start building your network</p> <p>An informational interview is not a job request</p> <p>You should never ask for a job during an informational interview, because that is not the purpose of the meeting</p> <p>THE PURPOSE OF </p> <p>AN INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEW</p> <p>1. Learn about the industry they work in</p> <p>2. Find out if their career path is something you would enjoy</p> <p>3. Start building your network</p> <p>INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEWS </p> <p>AND DATING</p> <p> Youre trying to impress someone</p> <p> They have something you want</p> <p> Youre excited and nervous</p> <p>INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEWS </p> <p>AND DATING</p> <p> No one likes the creepy guy who goes from girl to girl at a part just trying to get some</p> <p> Dont be the creepy guy while youre doing informational interviews</p> <p> Show genuine interest in the person</p> <p> Building strong relationships will do more for your career than one night stands </p> <p>Informational interviews are a simple and powerful way to begin building your network</p> <p>The relationships you form while conducting informational interviews can help you for the rest of your career</p> <p>FINDING PEOPLE </p> <p>TO INTERVIEW</p> <p>Discovering the </p> <p>best people to connect with</p> <p>WHO SHOULD YOU INTERVIEW?</p> <p> Aim to find Decision Makers </p> <p> People who have been in the industry for at least a few years and have a say in who is hired at the company they work with</p> <p> People who you want to be in 5, 10, 20 years</p> <p>WHO YOU SHOULD NOT INTERVIEW</p> <p> Peer-level professionals</p> <p> You want to begin talking with people with experience, so they can tell you the good and the bad of the industry</p> <p> They should have the ability to hire you if they want to, or at least have some say in the process</p> <p>HOW DO YOU FIND THESE PEOPLE?</p> <p>1. Use your existing network</p> <p>2. LinkedIn</p> <p>3. The internet!</p> <p>USING YOUR EXISTING NETWORK You may be fortunate enough to be connected with impressive people </p> <p>already</p> <p> Ask family and friends, professors, etc. if they know anyone in the the industries youve selected</p> <p> Explain that you want to ask them about their career path</p> <p> Ask for an introduction or get their contact info</p> <p>USING LINKEDIN TO FIND PEOPLE If you dont have any connections or youve moved to a new area, LinkedIn might </p> <p>be your best bet</p> <p> People on LinkedIn are looking to network</p> <p> You can search by industry, company or job title</p> <p> Join industry groups to find contacts in your area and send them direct messages</p> <p> Aim to get an email address if you can, otherwise InMail is the next best thing</p> <p>USING THE INTERNET TO FIND PEOPLE</p> <p> Look on social media, join industry groups, and follow blogs to find impressive people</p> <p> Make a list of companies that are in the industry and research them on Google, make a note of key players within the companies</p> <p> All you need to start is their name and their email address</p> <p>Aim to compile a list of 10 people you would like to interview</p> <p>REQUESTING</p> <p>AN INTERVIEW</p> <p>Moving the job hunt out of your home and into the real world</p> <p>Sir Francis Bacon</p> <p>A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.</p> <p>REQUESTING AN INTERVIEW</p> <p>1. Researching the person</p> <p>2. Drafting the email</p> <p>3. Sending it out and following up</p> <p>RESEARCHING THE PERSON</p> <p> The first step is to do some background research on the person</p> <p> What companies have they worked for, where did they get their start?</p> <p> Youre looking for an in; a way to connect with them in your email</p> <p>The email you send out will form their first impression of you</p> <p>Make sure it paints an accurate picture</p> <p>#1 rule of networking = be genuine</p> <p>INTERVIEW REQUEST </p> <p>EMAIL STRUCTURE</p> <p>1. Introduce yourself, explain how you found their information</p> <p>2. Compliment them and their career</p> <p>3. Ask if you can take take them to coffee, ending with a specific request</p> <p>INTERVIEW REQUEST</p> <p>EMAIL EXAMPLE</p> <p>Double check everything before you send it out</p> <p>WHAT TO EXPECT</p> <p> If you send 10 emails, you may only get 1-2 responses at first</p> <p> Over time you can tweak your emails to get the best response rates</p> <p>FOLLOWING UP</p> <p> If they dont reply to you within a week, send a follow up email</p> <p> Introduce yourself again and attach your original email to the follow-up, so they dont have to dig for it</p> <p> If they still dont reply, theyre probably too busy to meet with you, move on</p> <p>PREPARING FOR THE INTERVIEW</p> <p>Everything you need to know before your first Informational Interview</p> <p>INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEW GOALS</p> <p>1. Find out if this job/industry is something you want to do</p> <p>2. Decide if this person is someone that you could use as a mentor</p> <p>3. Get a referral (someone else to interview)</p> <p>Preparing questions will help you find out if the job is something youd like to do</p> <p>It will help you feel calm and confident during the interview</p> <p>Being prepared is a sign of respect to the person you are interviewing</p> <p>FORMING GOOD QUESTIONS</p> <p> The questions you ask them should help you to answer your ultimate question: Is this career path something you want to do?</p> <p> Use open-ended questions</p> <p> Cannot be answered with a simple yes or a no</p> <p> Focus your questions on the other person</p> <p>QUESTION EXAMPLES How did you get to where you are </p> <p>now?</p> <p> What made you decide to do ______?</p> <p> What is your favorite part of your job?</p> <p> What do you not like about your job?</p> <p> How do people usually break into this industry?</p> <p> What project are you working on now?</p> <p> What does a typical day look like for you?</p> <p> If you had to do it all over again, what would you differently?</p> <p> What are your long-term goals? Or are you where you always wanted to be?</p> <p>Pay attention to what triggers their interest, and what excites them</p> <p>They may have a project they are working on that they are very passionate about</p> <p>Dont be afraid to deviate from the questions you have prepared</p> <p>At the end of the interview, ask for a referral</p> <p>Before asking, make sure to thank them for everything they have shared with you</p> <p>Thank you so much, Ive really learned a lot from you today and I think Im on the right path. Is there anyone you would recommend I talk to next about [INDUSTRY/CAREER PATH]?</p> <p>FOLLOWING UP The day after your interview, thank them and follow-up via email</p> <p> If they gave you any referrals, make sure to report on them</p> <p> I reached out to [NAME], thanks again!</p> <p> End with a simple request, to keep the relationship going</p> <p> Would it be alright if I reach out to you again in the future about career advice? (Not very often, just when I really need it)</p> <p>WHO PAYS?</p> <p> Always offer to pay, you requested the meeting</p> <p> If they offer to pay, decline at first, but if they persist, dont make a big deal of it and accept their generosity</p> <p>WHAT TO WEAR?</p> <p> Informational interviews are casual, not a formal interview</p> <p> Usually a simple button-up shirt and nice pants are just fine</p> <p> Aim to match their level of dress </p> <p> Neatness counts</p> <p>The best thing you can wear is confidence </p> <p>Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are </p> <p> (TED TALK)</p> <p>ACTION ITEMS</p> <p>ACTION ITEMS</p> <p>1. Find 10 people that you want to interview</p> <p>2. Send out first 10 informational interview requests and meet with the people who respond</p> <p>3. Follow up and thank the people you met with</p> <p>4. Repeat steps 1-3 until youve met with 5-10 people</p> <p>COMING UPChoosing Your Industry </p> <p>In the next unit, you will compile all of the information you gained from your informational interviews and use it to evaluate career options. You will measure specific job paths against your own skills and goals to determine if they are right for you. At the end of the section you will make a decision on what career path you will pursue while hunting for a job.</p>