Networking is about building relationships to allow you to enlist the support of your contacts and feel confident in asking for their advice, ideas and referrals.
One way to network is to schedule informational interviews. Following are some tips you may want to keep in mind:
- When asking to meet, give some background about yourself and state the purpose for the meeting. Ask for the meeting to last no more than half an hour.
- Never be late.
- Arrange everything to go as smoothly as possible.
- You can either choose to meet the other person at his office or outside, over coffee or lunch. Meeting the other person at his office will allow you to have a look at the work environment. On the other hand, meeting outside the office may create a more informal and relaxed atmosphere for the conversation.
- Dress professionally.
- Be familiar with the position of the other person.
- Be sure to jot down all of the questions that you want to ask.
- Thank the other person for his time.
- Smile and try to make the conversation interesting.
- Don’t forget to follow-up after the meeting.
Advantages of an Informational Interview
If you want to network effectively, you should leverage all the aspects of networking. Informational interviewing is one of them. An informational interview can help you:
- Reach an informed decision about your career goals and interests.
- Provide a sense of direction to your job search.
- Put you in contact with insiders and give you the opportunity to ask questions in an informal setting.
- Uncover the hidden job market.
What is meant by the “hidden job market”? It refers to job openings that are not advertised. For instance, although a company is busy, it is hesitant to hire someone new. You informally meet with a manager in the company through a referral. The manager likes you and creates a position for you. The opening was never posted.
by John Sylo