Mastering the Informational Interview

Why wait to hear back after applying for a job? Be proactive and set up an informational interview. There may not be a position available, but here are steps you can take to leave a lasting impression:

Seek out companies you’re interested in. Don’t aimlessly apply to different jobs. Create a target. What organizations align with your career goals? Once you identify which companies are on your radar, figure out a way to get inside and meet face to face. Tell them you’re doing some research. Find something in common to talk about. Ask to set up an informational interview. How you get in there doesn’t matter. All that matters is making it happen.
Sell yourself. There may not be a position open, so get them thinking about creating a new one for you. Focus on the following 3 areas:
1) Share your strengths and how they will help you get the job done
2) Tell them why you want to work there
3) Show them how you will fit into their organization
Don’t be a car salesman. Instead explain how your past experiences equip you to help their company. Show passion and enthusiasm. Emphasize the value you bring to their company. 

Be amiable. People don’t hire people they don’t like. Simple, yet true. It’s not so much about you. It’s about IF you fit and what value you bring to the organization. Meeting in person works when you leave a positive impression. Treat the person like you want to be treated. It’s not rocket science. It’s about your people skills (see number 3 above). We hire people we like.

Informational interviews should be treated like meeting for coffee. Sure you need to be professional, but the goal is to have the person positively remember you. Do these steps and follow up and you’ll be the first person they think of when it comes to a new opening.

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