You'd be surprised at the impression you can make on an employer just by asking for a few moments of their time, at their convenience, for an informational interview. While the term "interview" sounds daunting, consider this just a conversation. No pressure. In fact, as a job seeker, the ball is in your court. You're able to toss out the questions and it's their job to sell the company to you.
Connect & Converse. Tap into your network of contacts and identify an individual (or a few) who's employed at one of the companies you would like to work for. If that individual is an acquaintance of yours, re-establish your connection with a short conversation via LinkedIn, easing your way into the discussion regarding your job search. Or, connect with someone you know well who can speak highly of your character and experience level. Kindly request if they will help put you in contact with someone from a company you would like to work for and be sure to explain your intent with requesting the connection.
Take Initiative & Treat Them. Request 30 minutes of their time (over coffee, lunch or in the office) to meet. Offering to treat them for an off-site meeting may help ease the conversation as it places both of you in neutral territory. Send a digital meeting invite and include a short message describing the purpose of the meeting.
Follow Up & Firm Your Plans. Following up will never become a lost art. Sometimes people can overlook their calendars or simply just forget. Sending a short e-mail to confirm your meeting the day prior can only amplify your first impression.
Bring Questions & Build Rapport. Before rattling off your well-thought-out questions and impressing them with the research you've done on the company, take a deep breath. Set a light tone for the meeting by initiating the conversation with non-work related chat. As the conversation continues, the questions you have prepared will naturally flow into the conversation.
Say 'Thanks' & Stay in Touch. A hand-written 'thank-you' note is the icing on the cake to your first impression. Saying 'thanks' by e-mail may be quicker and more high-tech, but nothing beats the thought and effort into a professionally written card. Once you've tossed your note in the mail, add a reminder on your calendar to follow up with them in eight weeks.
Looking for more tips like these? Continue following our blog to stay ahead of the game in your job search.