Informational Interviewing! aka “Coffee Chats”
Informational Interviewing is one of the most useful and under-utilized job search strategies you have. Informational interviews (call them coffee chats if that’s too much of a mouthful for you) have MANY advantages to your career search, including:
- Helping get your foot in the door at a company of interest to you. You’ll get one-on-one time with a professional who can recommend you to hiring managers or learn about your unique skills before you actually apply for something.
- Get insight about the company and the job type you’re interested in. Doing this research is helpful in teaching you about what the job application process is likely to be like, what the company needs, what the culture is like, and whether you have the skills (and what skills to highlight) as you apply.
- Practice your elevator pitch and hone your interests. The more you have to tell people what you’re interested in and what your skills are, the better you will get at doing this! Meeting professionals for coffee is a great way to practice your professional communication and elevator pitch, which is a critical professional skill that you’ll use forever.
- Mentorship and sponsor potential. If you impress the person you’re informational interviewing with, there’s a chance that this person might make a great mentor for you. Or, this person might be impressed with your skills and advocate on your behalf within the professional community, a practice known as sponsorship. Both mentors and sponsors make the difference between a stagnant career and one that skyrockets to success.
Here are some reminders about how to use Informational Interviewing to your advantage:
Do them anytime, not just while you’re looking for a job. Professional networking is something that will work best if you do it consistently. It takes time to build relationships with people, so start informational interviewing even when you’re not looking for work yet.
You can ask via email. If you’re not sure how to get started with an informational interview, simply send an email to a professional you would like to know better and ask them if they have time to meet with you over coffee. You can highlight a question or two in your email that you’d like to discuss with the person, and then see what happens!
Assume the best. Most people are very happy to help, and do not see an invitation to coffee to chat about professional topics as an imposition. Assume that people like you, will want to talk with you and help you, and you’ll have the confidence to host a great informational interview.
Career Events This Week
Mon., May 13 | 3:30 – 4:30 pm
Tue., May 14 | 2:30 – 4 pm
Wed., May 15 | 12:30 – 1:30 pm
Wed., May 15 | 12:30 – 1:30 pm – MGH 310D
MLIS job search drop-in
Thu., May 16 | 8:45 am – 4:15 pm
Thu., May 16 | 12:30 – 1:30 pm – MGH 370H
MSIM and INFO internship/job search drop-in
Thu., May 16 | 3 – 4 pm
Fri., May 17 | 1:30 – 2:30 pm
Highlighted Professional Jobs
Ohio State University Library
Anchorage Public Library
Highlighted Student Jobs
PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company