Elliott Bell | The Muse | 12/31/2022
The informational interview is the secret tool everyone should have in their back pocket. A hybrid of an amazing networking opportunity, an info session, and a job interview, it can give anyone looking for a job or pondering a career change insider scoop (not to mention a much-needed morale boost).
The problem is that these opportunities aren’t advertised anywhere, typically require a lot of work on your end to make happen, and, in most cases, mean you have to convince strangers why they should take time out of their day to help you.
But with the right approach, you can land these interviews (and maybe even a job). Here’s my advice for finding and approaching potential contacts and getting them to say yes—every time.
Find the Right People
This may seem obvious, but choosing who you approach can make all the difference in hearing back.
Start by making a list of companies you’d love to work at and of job titles or positions you’d be interested in. While people who fit on either list are good, someone who works for your dream company and has your dream role is where you’ll get the most bang for your buck.
That said, it’s important to consider what the person does at the company and the size of the company—you want to target people who are in an aspirational role, but who aren’t so high up that they won’t have time to meet with you. I may want to talk to the CMO of a major company, but I can probably learn more talking to the marketing director of a smaller company. Also, look for people you have some sort of connection with—if someone went to your college or has a shared connection, he or she will be more likely to want to meet with you.
I prefer using LinkedIn to find people, but then reaching out over email—it’s easier for people to respond to, and you won’t look like LinkedIn spam. (Try our tip for tracking down a hiring manager’s address.)