Informational Interviewing 101

Too often people overlook the informational interview as a key tool in landing a new job or making a career change. I got my previous job at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia through an informational interview. It was a conversation that led to many career opportunities for me.

If you’ve been wanting to do something different in your career and aren’t sure how to go about it, try this approach:
1) Make a list of careers you’d love to be doing (Aren’t sure? Read my article on Finding Your Purpose.)
2) Write down all the questions you’d like answered (for a sampling check out the online informational interviews at TheCareerProject.org).
3) Ask your network for anyone they know doing the career(s) you want. If you don’t get any leads from this step, try going online to industry associations or check with your alumni association. Email or call the Executive Director and ask for any contacts he/she can recommend.

Seems easy right? Well not if you make the conversation all about you. Rather than focusing on why YOU need to talk to this person and why YOU need a new career and why YOU really want information; Instead, focus on why your interviewee is the perfect person for you to speak with because he or she is accomplished in this field and came highly recommended. Be genuinely interested in the career path of the person you are interviewing and you will not only get information but build rapport.

If you’re still not sure how to informational interview for your own situation, email me at coaching@maggiemistal.com or call in to my segment on Martha Stewart Living Radio Thursdays at 9:30am and 3pm eastern.

And let me know your experience with informational interviews. Have they worked for you? Who have you informational interviewed?…

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