Informational interviews are helpful when trying to obtain an understanding about an organization or company. You can use informational interviews to your advantage because they can help you learn if a company has any certain requirements or certifications. This can help you prepare before your job interview and also give you an idea of what it would take to succeed in that industry. Informational interviews are practically trial runs for you to see more about the organizations that you’re interested in; they help you narrow down your choices and find your best fit. This is important when looking for a job because it gives you a look into the company without having to worry about the pressure of being in a job interview; it’s an informal process that helps collect insight. Taking advantage of these opportunities is very beneficial because they can put you a step ahead when applying for a job and will help ensure you meet all of the requirements as well.
What is an informational interview? – In a way, an informational interview is like an interest meeting. Imagine going to a job fair, looking around at all of the booths, and approaching the ones that spark an interest in you. An informational interview is exactly the same thing, just done in a more professional manner. You research different companies online and find ones that suit you and your needs, and from there you can look at different positions within the company to see what interests you. Following that, you should compile any questions you want to have answered regarding that company and position. This link will help you with getting the most out of your interview.
How to go about landing an informational interview – After you have looked into a specific company, you should begin researching employees to see who currently holds the position you want; that person would be able to provide the most information regarding the position since they currently hold it. Reach out to them– keep it reasonable and don’t try to reach out to the CEO of some big company, because the goal is to get a reply from this person to set up a meeting. Don’t be afraid when contacting this person, just be professional and confident in yourself. Everyone has asked for help before. Let them know that you’re interested in their company or in doing work in their field. Ask if you can take 10-20 minutes out of their day to meet up or talk to them on the phone about the company or job position. Here is more information on how to land an informational interview .
Interview Stage- Don't stress yourself out during the actual interview! It isn't for the job, it's just an informative meeting to understand more about the company or position. Don’t forget the person you are meeting with is a working professional, so be sure to thank them for taking time out of their day to meet with you. During this stage be ambitious and show your interest in the company or position; ask a lot of informative questions that show you're serious. Ask questions about the company, the job position, and don’t be afraid to ask questions about the person who you are interviewing. Ask them how they got started in the field or what you can do to work your way up to that position– things that can give you a sense of direction and help you better understand what you have to do. Here are some good questions to ask during an informational interview.
Follow through/Recommendations – After you've asked away and collected all you need to know, you should ask the person if there is anyone else you should talk to that can help you gain even more direction. If you can get your foot in the door with that person, they may be willing to point you to the right people who could help you get your start. It’s all about networking. Once you have developed that connection it is easier to talk to others in the company, because you have that person as a reference. It makes starting the conversation easier when you can say, “this person referred me to you." Lastly, always follow up to thank them for helping you and don’t be afraid to ask for help again. If you have established that connection, reaching out should be easy and that lets them know that you are persistent and serious about succeeding in the industry. That could work in your favor later if there is ever and opening, because the connections you've made could end up recommending you or even giving you a job!
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