Jessica Miller-Merrell | , , , , , , , , , ,| By
So how about those informational interviews? They’re a fantastic way of intelligence gathering and getting your name out there for potential openings. They’re great practice for actual job interviews but without the crushing nervousness. You can ask for feedback and the interviewer won’t feel the pressure of having to hire. Heck, sometimes I just pick a name out of the phonebook and ask them to meet with me.
Oh Wise & Recent New Hire
But let’s dig a little deeper into our bag of tricks and talk about something you may not have thought about. Rather than concentrating solely on mid to upper level people or managers consider reaching out to people just a few years out of college. They can be a source of great job search information, advice and encouragement. They’ll know the duties and requirements of entry-level positions and most will be happy to help someone close to their own age.
Use your network to find some names. Talk to your Alumni Association, frat/sorority or other student organization. Get it out on Facebook that you’re looking to talk to a recent hire. Go to LinkedIn, get into the Advanced Search/People area and start plugging in your criteria. You can direct your search in different ways but what you’re looking for are people you have an association with. Where you went to college, groups you have in common and friends or connections you share will give you a starting point. Any sort of commonality can help break the ice and make your contact more receptive to meeting with you. Regardless of how you find them make contact, ask for a few minutes and be polite if they say no.
Of course the rules of info interviews still apply: promise you’ll take no more than 20 minutes and stick to it, have your questions ready to go and be flexible if schedules get in the way. Make sure to confirm the day before and be cordial if they need to bump you, have some dates and times ready to go to facilitate a fast reschedule.
This is such a great way to network and polish your interview skills. But be a bit careful; don’t be too informal or spend too much time talking about other stuff. Yes, the new Vampire Weekend is great but get over it. Keeping it professional is still important, this connection may ultimately refer you for an opening and if they’re not one hundred percent confident you can pull it off you’re just somebody they met with and that’s where it ends. And people, do I really need to tell you to send a thank you note? I’m a throwback and prefer an actual piece of paper with actual ink, with actual thoughts and an actual signature. But however you do it info interviews are a great way to get yourself out there.
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Lisa Correu, Principal/Job Search Advocate has over seven years of recruiting both with a recruiting firm and within the largest employee owned ad agency in the US. I’ve seen thousands of resumes and most of them were bad. I’ve met hundreds of people who couldn’t tell me who they are and I’ve recruited people that looked great on paper but froze during their interviews. If you don’t know how to promote yourself guess what? No one else will. But it’s not that hard, it just takes some time and creativity. And when it works you’ve set yourself ahead of the vast majority of job seekers.