The informational interview is the secret tool everyone should have in their back pocket. A hybrid of an amazing networking opportunity, an info session, and a job interview, it can give anyone looking for a job or internship the inside scoop.
Estimates as high as 80% are cited for the percentage of jobs obtained through networking. Why? Because your network gains you access to the “hidden job market,” or jobs that never get posted. These jobs aren’t posted because they are filled through referrals and references. This just means people who work at these companies put forth names of others, from their network, they think would be a good fit. Hiring Managers then talk directly to these people, rather than review the applications of those they don’t know.
That said, while people in your network who you’ve built and maintained relationships with could provide your next lead or be your foot in the door somewhere, you shouldn’t build relationships solely around this expectation. There is no guarantee that someone will be able to get you a job. Instead, you should find others who can help you learn and grow. If they so happen, down the line, to help you get a job or internship – that’s just a bonus.
When you truly build a mutually beneficial relationship with someone and they get to know you, what drives you, and where you’re trying to go, they have the potential to be really helpful both personally and professionally.
CONDUCTING AN INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEW
If you get the opportunity to do an informational interview with someone in your field, make sure you have a list of questions prepared.
- How did you get your start in the field?
- What is your typical day like?
- What skills are important for your job?
- What professional development resources do you use?
- What advice do you have for a current student?
Make sure you follow up with a thank you note or email!
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