In the first couple days of the #60Day Challenge, you re-established contact with existing mentors and began to identify potential new mentors. From Day 3 to Day 7, you polished your social networking profiles to a brilliant shine. On Day 8 of the challenge, you’re going to put all that hard work, to work… by securing three informational interviews with influencers in your industry. Let’s get started…
The information interview – an informal one-on-one meeting with a potential mentor or influencer within your career choice – is a highly effective job search strategy. In one meeting, you:
- Expand your personal network
- Get to practice your interview and communication skills
- Meet a workforce veteran likely to help advance your career
- Learn more about a specific company or industry
- Learn about the roles that influencer plays – what works and what doesn’t
- Talk about what inspires that person to do well; what gets her out of bed everyday
- Discuss how you can best transition from a student to professional
And all this happens in the time it takes to drink one latte.
Who do you invite to an informational interview? At this stage of the challenge we suggest inviting one existing mentor (perhaps the one most grateful to hear from you again on Day One of the Challenge) and two new mentor candidates (those you stalked on Day Two). Again, give each of them a reason to connect: talk about your passions, tell them how much you admire their perspective or what you like about their personal brand. Explain why they are a person you would like to meet.
Next, request 20 to 30 minutes of their time. For a mentor or influencer who lives close, that latte or lunch works well (yes, YOU are buying). If that mentor isn’t available face-to-face, a Skype call or Google+ Hangout works nearly as well – sometimes even better as neither of you needs to fight traffic or worry about running late. Also, your mentor may prefer the idea of a video call as that will mean less time away from the office.
Regardless of the method of communication, come prepared! Perform extensive research on the individual, their company and the industry in which they operate. Come with a list of really good questions and scenarios that will enable the person on the other side of the table to talk about themselves, their success so far as well as their failures.
Most important, come with an open mind and all the confidence you can muster. These three interviews will be your turn to shine; an opportunity to impress. Do well, and informational interviews will help launch your successful early career.
Don’t believe us? That’s okay, for now… as informational interviews, despite their consistent impact, are one of the least used job search techniques; we understand that resistance to the concept exists. So don’t take our word for it. Instead, ask the young careerists who have employed this strategy as they built their networks and carved out their career. Or read about how Ben Paul got 13 interviews – and a really good job – without ever submitting an application, all through informational interviews.
So you can go “all in” when talking to the mentors and influencers about meeting for coffee or a video call, take all the time you need to understand the value of what you are about to do.
Then, without fail, go set up those three informational interviews. Your career – and your bank account – will appreciate the effort.