It’s reported that the vast majority of jobs (around 75%) are found through networking. And one of the best ways to broaden your network is the informational interview. It’s a great way to get information about a job or career path.
Begin by identifying a company, or someone within a company, in a field where you’d like to work. Instead of being interviewed, you get to ask the questions. People who use this technique find it’s much easier than expected to get an appointment if all you want is information. Most people want to help others as long as time permits. It also expands their network.
Here’s how it goes. Once you’ve identified the field where you want to work use LinkedIn or Facebook to find someone who can give you a name at the company. Probably the hardest thing is to make that first call. Don’t be upset if you don’t connect right away. Learning to handle rejection is part of the process and will help you build resilience and make it easier for you to call strangers. Getting over your embarrassment or fear of rejection is critical to the job search process.
Start the conversation by mentioning the person who made the referral. State you know that a job is not be available, but you seek general information about the field , and any special challenges you might. Ask for 20 or 30 minutes and accept whatever time of day the person offers.
We work with people who get a good number of interviews this way. If you make a good impression, you might be at the top of the list next time a jobs becomes available. Also, don’t be bashful about asking for an introduction to someone who might be helpful at another company.