How to Have a Sucessful Informational Interview

When asking employers what they don’t want to see in an applicant, almost all of them will say, “unable to communicate effectively”. This can mean anything from gossiping around the water cooler to being brash with a supervisor. A lot of employers are first looking for the tell-all readable resume that clearly states your qualifications for the job (that relate to the advertised position). Next, after they’ve weeded out those who did not qualify for the job, they are on a mission to find, “the perfect fit”. Likening this process to buying a pair of jeans online, you first specify size and style then proceed to the checkout after browsing the variety of jeans available before choosing the one pair that really jumps out at you.

The best way to know if you would fit into an organization is to assess whether you are the type of person that will work for a specific organization. Can you visualize doing the specific tasks demanded of a job clearly and are you realistically considering that you will be doing this job for intrinsic or extrinsic motives? For instance, you rarely find a welder working in retail sales. This type of person is good with his hands and making things, not selling shoes to a woman who is having a bridal shower. If it seems to be not in your nature to fit with those people who are already in a profession, then save yourself some time and move on.

Another way you can research whether you would be a good fit for a business is to make an appointment with a supervisor or hiring manager at a business that is known to recruit for the profession you are trying to get into. Set a date for a brief interview to find out more about your chosen career track. Make sure to emphasize that you aren’t asking for an interview, but you are only doing some research to help you along your career path.

When you have made an appointment, here are some tips for the ensuing conversation:

*Dress professionally. No one will take you seriously if you don’t.
* Make sure to make eye contact with everyone around you.
* Don’t slouch. Be confident and smile.
* Research the occupation you are inquiring about. If you come in not knowing anything, you will look foolish.
*Ask how someone might get into the field you have chosen. You might be surprised to hear some interesting and off beat ideas!
*Find out what qualifications and personality traits those in the field are looking for in new applicants. This will help you process a strategy to enter this field.
*Thank the interviewee and make sure to send a follow up thank you letter explaining that the information you discussed was an invaluable part of your education and you appreciate their time.

Information interviews can lead to more ideas on how to gain an entry level job in your chosen field as well as expose you to the insight of someone working in your chosen occupation. People have differing perspectives and there is more than one way to a goal, so if you listen and actively seek out resources for entering the workforce, you will find that the task of sending out resumes will not be as difficult.

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