In this series we learned:
- Of both the value and benefits of informational interviews
- That high activity yields better results
- And the advantage of striking a connection with the interviewer
But in order to really accentuate your execution, the following pre-requisites will help:
- Work every day in bettering your brand. Like it or not, everyday you are modifying your brand, or put another way, your reputation. Excel and your brand moves up. Let someone down, or do less than your best and your brand deteriorates. If you are going to be asking others to assist you in a job search, and you will, your brand equity is vital. Be your best-self everyday.
- Fortify and expand your network in a process oriented way. Grooming and making your network more powerful is a learned habit. Your network is the most critical component other than your track-record in moving your career forward. Make it intentional, and remember the process includes:
- Be engaged in enough ‘discovery’ that you know what you have a strong desire to do. Many students lament, ‘I don’t know what I really want to do…’ Sadly, I even hear seniors saying that. It is a real shame, and a big disadvantage. From day one, students need to be on the quest to answer this question. It takes time to discover though. Use intentional curiosity to power this journey. You can use an informational interview to sort out, and test the viability of what you think you might want to do in the workplace.
- Once you focus in a specific area and start to become excited about seeing yourself in that profession or role, you can deploy informational interviews to discover more about that area. This discovery with professionals in the field will better set you up for excellence and notoriety when you actually begin to interview for a jobs or internships. A side benefit is that when people you are talking to see your intention and preparation, they often point you to opportunity that they have. An informational interview can evolve into a job interview, and there is nothing wrong with that.
- Begin early. You get a very big advantage by getting after this from your first semesters on campus. All of this takes time. Doing 40-50 informational interviews puts you in a much stronger place than others, but if you have not started until your final year, you simply don’t have enough time to do this effectively. It is best to front-load these informational interviews in your first three years so that you leave ample time for serious job interviews as you go into the home stretch.
The Process - One of the habits in Stephen Covey’s blockbuster bestseller Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is Habit 2: ‘Begin with the end in mind.’ This means if you want to pull off 50 interviews, you must set a near term objective of how many you want to complete per semester. If these aggressive goals seem daunting, once you nail next semester’s objective, it will get easier.
- Begin by figuring out your path to 40-50 informational interviews by determining how many interviews you must do per semester going forward.
- Make a summary spreadsheet to keep track of all of this activity. You can use our Job Search Radar. It will take you through the whole interview to job process. (Follow this link and click download the Job Search Radar)
- Begin a list of prospects that you want to engage with and call upon
- Meet with faculty, advisors, and recent alums who have entered the workforce that share your ambition. Solicit their help and guidance in lining up informational interviews.
- Utilize your breaks: Thanksgiving, Winter, Spring (unless you are being festive in Florida or Mexico!), and Summer to meet with professionals.
Is this a lot of work? Yes, but if it can get you to a job, that is the first step of an amazing career. It is well worth it. These interviews can help you:
- Sort out what you want to do
- Be very knowledgeable about the profession you are entering
- And therefore, be more impressive in the competitive interview process that you will be engaging in.
Your education is about BOTH learning and discovery. Discover and prepare well. Informational interviews can really build an advantage.
- Part 1: Introduction to Informational Interviews- What is an informational interview
- Part 2: Acitivity Breeds Results- The more you engage the more your interviewing improves
- Part 3: How to Get the Interview- Best practices for getting an interview
- Part 5: LinkedIn University Pages- How to maximize virtual job search
- Part 6: Email Templates- Templates for reaching out to professionals
- Part 7: Summary- Review of everything Informational Interview