Dear Dorothy, I’m responding to your request for information on how to get informational interviews and once you have them, how to turn it into a job.
To get an information interview –
- The best way to secure an informational interview is to obtain a referral from someone that person knows and trusts. The referring person could be in the same company or simply a friend. There are a number of actions the referring person can take. The least favored actions: 1- they send the person your resume with the idea that if the hiring manager/or contact is interested, they’ll contact you or 2- they ask the person to email or call you. The best actions: 1- they send an introduction email copying both of you or 2 they give you the person’s email or phone number and permission to use their name. All actions will have the potential for obtaining an informational interview.
- When you make contact with the hiring manager or for that matter anyone, you always indicate who sent you to them. You should have a quick 2-3 sentence script worked out to both introduce yourself and your reason for calling. You don’t ask them if they have a job opening. You do ask them if they would be willing to meet with you for 15-30 minutes at their convenience to discuss their organization. It’s ok to use the term informational interview in your request.
To increase the odds of turning the informational interview into a job offer:
- Ensure you know how much time is allotted so you can judge your actions accordingly.
- Spend time asking questions in two categories: 1- the work performed in their organization and the org structure (so you know that they have the work you do) and 2- what are their issues or challenges – which will set you up to discuss how you can solve those issues
- You need to recap your experience and accomplishments but only those related to the work the organization does and relate it directly to how you can solve their issues. Because an information interview is short in nature, this should be interesting enough to leave them wanting you to say more about what you can do for them.
- Finish the interview by specifically asking them if they see a need for someone with your background either now or anytime in the future. Assuming they do, and then let them know you will follow up and stay in touch with them until that need arises.
- Keep in mind that while they may not have a position at the time you speak to them; it doesn’t mean they won’t keep you in mind when an opening occurs.
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It happens a lot.
Does that mean managers and leaders are clueless? (OK,OK I do know some of them are) Usually, that’s not the case.
What has taken place is that you have failed to help the decision makers understand your value to them. You are projecting something to them that is inconsistent with what you know to be great = YOU.
Many people don’t realize that their Personal Brand is out of alignment with their career goals. They do know the symptom and that is very little traction in their career. They go through their professional life frustrated over the lack of advancement.
I’ve been known to say, “Your Personal Brand is Showing” because it is whether or not you realize it. It’s there communicating things that may not be reflecting what you want it to.
Don’t you want to solve the mystery and starts getting the opportunities you know you are worthy of?
Here’s some advice about your Personal Brand:
- You need to become consciously aware of what your Personal Brand is. If you aren’t clear, you need to start seeking objective feedback. It will do you no good to get useless, “make nice” input.
- You must think and observe the Personal Brand of those you aspire to be like professionally. What do they do to reinforce their Brand? Are you doing some of those same things?
- You must start behaving “as-if” before you actually get there. If you want to be the president of the United States, you don’t wait until you are elected to start being presidential. You act in alignment before you arrive or know one will support you.
- People who struggle professionally to achieve their goals – fail to align their Personal Brand with the goal. For you: 1- get clear on your career goal and 2- figure out your gaps and make an action plan.
- Your performance is a huge part of your Personal Brand. Think of it like this: Talk is cheap but actions matter. If you’re a personal trainer that doesn’t work out or focus on fitness,,,you probably won’t get clients.
I want you to be successful and I know you can. Let me share more with you on my next Personal Branding webinar title “Stop Being Ignored Professionally” at 2 times on September 2. Sign up now: http://introvertwhisperer.com/stop-being-ignored-webinar