Learn How! - Dinorah Meyer

Informational Interviewing
& Networking – Learn How!
Dinorah Meyer, Career Counselor
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
652 Barrows
What you will learn:
• How to prepare for informational
interviews and job networking
• How to find people
• How to approach people
• What to tell people about yourself
• Types of questions you can ask
• How to follow up
Networking: Definition, Purposes/Benefits
Focus on Informational Interviewing
Focus on Networking for Job Search
Using LinkedIn for either
• What images, thoughts or feelings does the
term “networking” conjure in your mind?
• How you do you feel about the idea of talking
with strangers about what it’s like to do their
work or about your job search?
Networking Broadly Defined
• An important career development skill that
involves making connections and having
“career conversations” with people for the
purposes of
– exploring careers or job searching
– developing new professional contacts &
relationships (incl. advocates/mentors); it takes
• Networking ≠ using people
• You network every day…
Working from your Inner
Circle Outward
People they know
Teachers You
Six Degrees of Separation
Networking: Purposes/Benefits
Career Exploration (informational interviewing)
• When you are not sure what type of career or job
you want to pursue
• Learn whether a given job, career path, or
organization could be a "fit" for you
• Gain insider knowledge about…
– Career fields/positions, incl. qualifications, training,
skills, future potential
– Companies/organizations, incl. culture, hiring trends,
growth potential
– Industries/industry trends
Informational Interviewing
for Career Exploration (cont.)
Emphasis: information gathering
Does not require you to “sell” yourself
Should not be mixed with job searching*
May make sense after self-assessment
Networking: Purposes/Benefits (cont.)
Job Search
• When in active search mode
• Highly effective, proactive method, esp. in tight market
• You should already know what you are targeting and
what you offer
• Open doors to the “hidden” job market
• Promote professional visibility
• Practice interview skills, describe strengths, gain
• Get advice to improve your job search effectiveness
• Set the stage for you to help others at a later date
(networking is best when reciprocal)*
Who is in your network?
• Personal relationships:
– Friends, immediate & extended family, neighbors,
neighborhood connections (grocery clerk, cleaners),
professional connections (doctor, dentist)
• Academic contacts:
– Classmates, professors, advisors, administrators
• Current and former work relationships
– Colleagues/co-workers, supervisors/managers,
Who is in your network? (cont.)
• Community professionals (dentist, travel
• Members of relevant professional associations
(through publications, meetings, conferences)
• Club and community organizations (health
club, cultural group)
• Websites, social networking sites, listservs
• College career center or alumni association
Informational Interviewing Steps*
Research the field, industry, organization* (websites)
Identify people to contact for interview or referral
Prepare questions
Develop a brief self-introduction* (script)
Make contact to set up meeting
Guide the interview; also go w/the flow
Always ask for referrals to others
Evaluate what you learned
Follow up – Thank you note, keeping person informed
Networking for a Job
when setting up a meeting
Identify people to contact
Research the person, organization* (LinkedIn)
Prepare questions based on what you want to achieve
Develop a brief self-introduction*
Prepare more in depth material to share about
yourself at the meeting (accomplishments, strengths)
6. Make contact to set up meeting
7. Guide the meeting but also go with the flow
8. Evaluate what you learned
9. Take action on any leads
10. Follow up – thank you note, keep person informed
Networking Communication – Approaches
Prepare to convey…
• Who are you?
• What are you looking for?
• How do your skills and experience support your
• I am, I can, I want*
• Tell me about yourself…*
• Career Success Stories*
At an Event or Scheduled Meeting…
• Entering a small group conversation:
– Introduce yourself during a pause
– Contribute to the existing conversation
• Ask open-ended questions
• Use active listening – show interest in them
• Ask follow-up questions
• Be prepared to talk about yourself
– Point out when you have things in common
– Balance your “air-time” with others in the group
• Be prepared to talk about areas of common interest:
– Current events
– Arts/entertainment/sports/hobbies/travel
– Industry trends
• Don’t “school” the other person
Ending A Conversation
(informational interviewing or job networking)
• For scheduled meetings – end on time
• Look for signs the other person is ready to
conclude the conversation
• Be gracious in your exit –
– “It was a pleasure speaking with you”
– “Thank you for taking the time to talk with me”
• If appropriate, ask about best ways to follow up
Following Up
• Send a thank-you note
• Inform how their advice helped you
• Send information about areas of common
• If more questions come up
• If you have something to offer
• Be aware of the fine line between appropriate
follow up and becoming a stalker!
Using LinkedIn
For informational interviewing and job search
Who has a profile? Who likes theirs?
Creating a profile, essential elements
Effective profiles: Examples
Enhancing your networking
100% complete profile  40x more opportunities
Include a photo
Build your network starting with people you know
Use Linkedin.com/alumni
How to get introduced
Customize your connection requests
Join LinkedIn Groups
Help others (recommend, endorse, share articles,
forward job opportunities)
Next week’s session:
(Wed., 4/30/14)
• Develop personal “scripts” for reaching out to
• Try out approaches to informational
interviews and job networking in a
comfortable social setting
• Get questions answered about these
strategies and feedback about how you are
coming across

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