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Informational Interviewing & Networking – Learn How!. Dinorah Meyer, Career Counselor Wednesday, April 23, 2014 5:30-7:00pm 652 Barrows. What you will learn:. How to prepare for informational interviews and job networking How to find people How to approach people

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Informational Interviewing & Networking – Learn How!

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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 time

  • Networking ≠ using people

  • You network every day…

Working from your Inner Circle Outward


People they know






Six Degrees of Separation

Networking: Purposes/Benefits

Career Exploration (informational interviewing)

  • When you are not surewhat 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 Interviewingfor 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 confidence

  • 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, vendors

Who is in your network? (cont.)

  • Community professionals (dentist, travel agent)

  • 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*(handout)

  • 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 Jobwhen 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)

  • Make contact to set up meeting

  • Guide the meeting but also go with the flow

  • Evaluate what you learned

  • Take action on any leads

  • 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 objective?

  • 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 interest

  • 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 opportunities

  • 100% complete profile  40x more opportunities

  • Include a photo

  • Build your network starting with people you know

  • Use

  • 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 people

  • 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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