While I was hunting for a job, one of the greatest gifts I received were three informational interviews.
While I was working at my job in a gym just a few months before graduation, I started chatting with one of the club’s long-time members, Eric, about my post-college plans. After 15 minutes of talking about my relentless job hunt and expressing my passion for working in communications, he stopped me to write down three contacts from local businesses in my field for me to set up informational interviews with.
As a local business owner himself, he explained the importance of connections and assured me it would be great to meet successful, local professionals who could offer me some job hunting advice and also what to expect and how to advance in today’s workforce.
That week, I gathered a list of questions for each contact and began scheduling meetings in hopes of getting some insights that would get me a leg up in the job market.
The first meeting was with Christina Chavira, who was in marketing & communications at Enloe Medical Center at the time. The meeting went so great that I didn’t even get through all my questions since there was so much to talk about. Christina was such an inspiring professional who gave me great insights on how to stand out and break into my industry. After this successful informational interview, I couldn’t wait to go to my next one.
For my second interview, I met with Bill Manley, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.’s product development manager. For our meeting, we sat in the brewery’s restaurant with a pint of Summerfest, and discussed the importance of doing what you love and the effect it has on your life. The meeting left me empowered and ready to seriously contemplate what I wanted out of a career.
My final interview was with John Cronin, the sales & marketing manager for Cascade Orthopedic Supply. John gave me a no-nonsense look into corporate communications and offered me some great professional advice. Our meeting was a great way to end my set of interviews.
After finishing all of my meetings, I not only felt lucky to have met these three amazing professionals, but I also felt so grateful to Eric for giving me such a wonderful gift. This unique opportunity to meet with pros in my industry and get advice and insights from them was an invaluable experience.
Since I know this, I hope that I can do the same for another eager, young pro one day when I have many established connections to share.
As for those of you with a career who get pressure to vouch for your job-seeking friends or acquaintances, consider setting them up on some informational interviews instead. It will not only help them get some good career advice, but it will also expose them to other contacts and possible opportunities.
The next time you’re looking for a job or being asked for one, consider giving or asking for the gift of a few informational interviews.
Have you been on an informational interview?