Using informational interviews
A confronting job search fact that job hunters eventually learn is that applying for jobs online is often a waste of time and a "black hole". There are many reasons for this that I will not address in this article, except to say that any level of job seeker must broaden his/her job search tactics.
On average 70% of jobs are never advertised, and this is where a targeted campaign directly to companies that would be highly likely to want your skills and expertise is a sensible strategy.
Developing an action plan based on research and analysis is excellent preparation and fundamental to obtaining a suitable position. A haphazard or "give it a go" approach to job search is the reason many job seekers struggle.
Informational interviews can help you explore your options in the following ways:
- Getting valuable information for your job hunting and career planning (e.g. choosing an academic qualification or career). It’s a good way to “reality check” what you’ve read, heard, and think
- Learning about a particular organisation, how you might fit in, and what problems or needs the employer has. Knowing these things will help you slant your qualifications towards the needs of the organisation
- Gaining experience and self-confidence in interviewing with professionals through discussing yourself and your career interests
- Enlarging your circle of “expert” contacts in the area. Remember, it is who you know (or get to know) that gets you a job. It’s never too early to establish contacts
- Asking for other referrals (e.g., “Can you suggest some other people that I might talk to about jobs in this field?”)
- An informational interview is an appointment that you schedule with a particular individual for the purpose of gaining current, regional, and/or specialised information from an “insider” point of view. If you are in the process of choosing a training course, making career choices, changing careers or beginning a job hunt, then informational interviews may help you explore your possibilities
- Unlike job interviews, informational interviews do not require that you sell yourself to an employer and do not depend on existing job vacancies. Informational interviews are arranged with those likely to provide information directly or with those who can refer you to persons with information
- The gathering of market intelligence (information) is not new. Organisations conduct market research all the time, so why not you. It is a proven method of professionally and proactively assisting in your quest for the "right job with the right employer"
There are many tools available for both job search and career development purposes, and informational interviews are "one of those important tools".
"The voyage of discovery is not in looking for new landscapes, but looking with new eyes" - Anon.