Networking does not always mean social networking. While social networking is good, it’s better to add a personal touch to it by utilizing informational interviews.
An informational interview is where you, as the job seeker, asks for a meeting with someone in charge of a particular company. You are, in essence, interviewing them, not for a job but for information. It’s used to ask questions about the company, advice, and to build on any leads that are presented during the interview process.
Many executives use this approach to build a network of business associates so that they can be kept informed of any new developments and/or job openings that they otherwise might not hear about.
Of course, job interview protocol is still expected during these interviews and includes:
- Research the company well so that you will have informed questions going into the interview.
- Set a date and time that is convenient to the person you are interviewing. Remember they are only helping you and are very busy
- Arrive on time and dress appropriately. This is not the time to be fashionably late.
- Have business cards and be sure to hand one out after introductions.
- Be prepared to end the interview at the scheduled time. If they aren’t ready, then keep going.
- Pay the tab if you are meeting somewhere for coffee or lunch.
- Have a thank you card ready so that you can give it to them as you part.
You never know who or where that awesome job will come from. Who knows, it just may come as a result of an informational interview. They may be so impressed by you and your skills, a new position may very well be created for you. It’s been known to happen.
At the end of the day, you will be proud of yourself because you have realized you really are good at what you do. And, you have built an ever-widening circle of contacts and job search resources that will be there to help you in the future.