Informational Interviews 2.0 — The New and Improved Job Search Method

CPC Employment Interview Coaching

Informational interviews are awesome networking tools — but they can be hard to get, time consuming, and they can be awkward. It’s not comfortable to reach out to strangers. Social media is changing that, though. In the business world, like in many other areas, social media is breaking down barriers and changing social dynamics to permit more casual relationships with people we don’t know.

Seize this change — use it to your advantage by intertwining your client’s job search with their general career exploration — it will help advance both their immediate job search and their long-term happiness. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Job search today needs to be focused. When your clients find a field they think they’ll like, have them dig deep. For while it’s good to have an open mind, not focusing on a particular area keeps job search at the surface level of many industries. This means that you’re looking at only the most visible opportunities, and your client is competing with the maximum number of other job seekers.
  2. Clarity of career focus takes some introspective work. Help your clients determine their career goals: What are their valued skills? What do they like doing? What possibilities does a field offer them, and do their future options look attractive? Putting in legwork upfront to figure out career preferences helps solidify focus in a given field, stops second-guessing the search, and gives your clients talking points to discuss with future employers. Career exploration websites are good starting points to figure out what opportunities exist out there for your clients.
  3. With career focus in mind, look to explore it further through informational interviews. This is where job search and career exploration meet together in a lovely marriage. Informational interviews offer incredible insight into fields, while doubling as invaluable networking opportunities. They allow job seekers to chat with people already in the jobs they want, simultaneously feeling out whether they will like that job and connecting them with people who can introduce them to potential employers.
  4. Get online! Have your clients put their research to work and start reaching out to people in their desired fields. Be it through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or other social media sites, there are waves of people actively engaging in online conversations. Your clients do not need to schedule coffee dates with vague acquaintances — they just need to join in the conversations.
  5. Participation is key. Your clients are focused, driven, have goals, and are looking for help to attain them, but they shouldn’t play “damsel in distress.” Instead, encourage your clients to chat with people to attain new perspectives on their career path. They should actively participate in the conversations to determine if their “interviewees” can help them learn how to attain their goals. This is how traditional informational interviews work, but enacting this process through social media is a more efficient, casual, and less connection-driven process.

Networking through informational interviews is a great job search technique and job seekers need to shoulder the responsibility for the process if they’re going to be successful. With the continuing development of social media, job seekers can now gain the same benefits from virtual informational interviews that were previously only achieved via face-to-face meetings, while also enjoying more convenience and less intimidation. With a little bit of legwork and determination, your clients can locate the field they want and find the backdoors in — the ones that most other job seekers are currently missing.

Guest blog by Laura James, Head of Content at Inside Jobs — a career exploration website.

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