Three Ways to Make the Most Out of Informational Interviews

handshake2If you’re looking for a job right now and discovering some downtime or scarcity with online job postings you want to pursue, you’re not alone.

There are a few ways to make the most of the summer by being productive in other ways. One of the most effective ways other than boosting your personal brand online and offline involves conducting informational interviews.

Sure, it’s peak vacation season but chances are between now and Labor Day you’ll be able to have a handful of meaningful conversations that can lead to new contacts and potential opportunities in the fall.

1. Do your research. So, let’s say you’ve landed a coffee meeting with someone at your ideal potential employer. Even if they don’t have any job openings right now, assume they’ll have one in the near future. Research everything you can about the company and outline specific questions to ask.

2. Be yourself. Leverage this time to let the other person truly get to know you, your strengths, your experiences and most of all, your enthusiasm. This meeting is an opportunity to position yourself in the best possible light and hey, considering there’s not a job available, you can relax. Anxiety, be gone!

Be yourself and then sell yourself by emphasizing all of the amazing assets you would be able to bring to their table.

3. Ask for a new connection. You want to keep the momentum moving forward, right? Ask who they know perhaps within their department or within their overall network to have additional conversations.  Maybe it’s one of their peers in another department or maybe it’s someone in their professional networking groups.

Be specific regarding who you want to meet. If it’s someone specific within their LinkedIn network you’re looking to get introduced to, by all means ask for the intro. And if it’s not a specific person per se, ask who you may meet within their department or company to have yet another informational interview.

Bonus: Make the most of of the informational interview by thanking them after it via email. They took time out of their busy day to meet with you so definitely acknowledge it.

As for the second bonus? Ask who you can help introduce them to as well. Networking is a two-way street and it always feels good to pay it forward.