orange flower

Heidi:

Since the summer Karen has encouraged me to reach out to people in the working world.  To ask questions, listen to their story, and gain valuable information and connections (AKA an informational interview).  I have found this extremely helpful in building confidence with practicing listening as much as communicating my story, goals, and thoughts to whomever I am speaking.

I have found informational interviews extremely helpful in my job search.  For example, if I am interested in a specific company, I will try to find someone within that company who I can talk to.  This can be accomplished through LinkedIn, where it is very simple to type in a company into the search bar and see how you are connected.  If you’re not connected to anyone in the company and can’t get introduced to someone through someone you know, you can send someone inmail/email or a request to connect with a message introducing yourself and why you want to talk to them.  Don’t feel bad if you don’t get a response.  As Karen says, “Some will, some won’t, so what?! Next!”

These company specific informational interviews are like glassdoor.com…but better.  You will not get this information on a company’s website.  Asking questions like this can be very enlightening: what is the culture like in the company?  Is it easy to find mentors?  What is a typical day like at your company?  (Pro tip: these are usually the same questions you would ask at the end of a job interview).

Informational interviews are not just for entry level job seekers like me looking to gain insight into a certain kind of company.  They can be broader in terms of checking out a certain industry or type of job or career path.  For example, if you’ve been working for a company for 20 years and are thinking about jumping into an entrepreneurial endeavor, it would be extremely advantageous for you to reach out and talk to as many entrepreneurs as you can.

As a last note, please take the books/articles that tell you exactly how to act on an informational interview with a grain of salt.  It’s not about doing everything right—it’s about being curious, connecting with people and getting some answers to give yourself some direction for your future.

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