Informational interviews can help people in all areas of their lives—professionally and personally. These types of interviews are the most efficient and, for some, the most effective way to learn.
Besides having interviewed many people, I’ve been the interviewee for hundreds of informational interviews. Now as a career, communication, and leadership coach, I’m sharing my favorite strategies and addressing the most common mistakes. I saved the most valuable networking strategy, which also happens to be the most underrated, for the last webinar of my four-part networking series.
First, here are a few key points that were covered in the previous webinars that will set you up for success when conducting informational interviews:
- Realizing that the goal of networking should be to connect with the intention of learning something
- Understanding the value of informational interviews beyond landing a job
- Recognizing that you inherently add value and can create mutually beneficial relationships regardless of your experience level
- Learning strategies for improving your conversational skills
- Writing requests effectively while demonstrating self-awareness
- Developing meaningful connection by communicating authentically, being trustworthy, identifying commonality, and being likable
- Writing personalized messages to request informational interviews
- Leveraging LinkedIn algorithms to increase your chances of meeting with industry leaders (and anyone else you want to reach out to)
- Strategizing other ways to connect with someone that hasn’t responded to you
Watch Networking Series Part 4: Effective Informational Interviews to learn how to:
- Expand your perspective on informational interviews
- Prepare insightful questions and structure them in a way that demonstrates knowledge and furthers conversation
- Express gratitude in a way that’s meaningful and memorable for the interviewee
- Create the best first impression through your confidence, conversation, caring, credibility, and clothing
Dressing the part for events and interviews
Don’t underestimate the importance of dressing the part for professional events and interviews.
In high school, I applied for a part-time job at a fashion outlet store. I was excited to receive an invitation to a group interview, because I thought it would be a good fit both ways. During the interview, I noticed that the interviewers responded positively to candidates that were dressed similarly to the store’s clothing style. Despite being proud of how I answered questions and maintained my confidence, it wasn’t enough to overcome my mistake of not representing their brand. Despite my disappointment, I learned an important lesson that day.
Always do your best to dress appropriately for the event, venue, and crowd. This habit has helped me immensely with networking, getting promotions, and working in social media marketing. And if you’re not dressing to represent a company brand, then dress for your personal brand.
You’ve made it to the end of my four-part webinar series on networking. Thank you for trusting me with your time. Best of luck with your learning and career endeavors!