Over and over, I have heard that sending out your resume to employers will no longer cut it. As Ben Carpenter puts it in his book The Bigs, you have to have several “lines in the water” before you begin your initial job search. After learning from my previous failures of blatantly ignoring and avoiding useful tips, I began reaching out for informational interviews. The following are some of the tips that I have acquired!

  1. Reach out to the company’s recruiting manager. Explain that you are interested in speaking with an employee and learning more about their experiences
  2. Be Prepared. When you finally secure an interview, do ample research on the employee, the company, and the sector. If you want this to be a conversation, you must have some interesting points to make about the industry. This is your opportunity to be impressive.
  3. Pace yourself! During the interview, have questions, but do not rattle them off! Remember, informational interviews should be conversations.
  4. Ask questions that you actually want answered. This may seem obvious, but it’s important. Of course, you want to set yourself up as potentially hirable, but the primary purpose of these interviews is to learn about career options
  5. Be professionally persistent! (stalk?) If the company does not get back to you, send a follow-up email to ensure they received your initial request.
  6. Utilize your existing networks. Reach out to your alums, family contacts, professional contacts or someone who is a degree or two away on LinkedIn.
  7. Have a resume tailored to that position in case they ask to see one before your interview
  8. Follow Up. Send a thank you email! There are plenty of samples online as a starting point
  9. Continue to follow up with the connection you’ve made, especially as you begin your job search.

-Ashley Cohen