April 30, 2010
How to ensure your informational interview request is ignored
[Photo courtesy of I Don't Know, Maybe.]
As Perry wisely wrote in his blog post They Know You Want a Job, So Don't Ask for One, chances are you're going about this all wrong.
I recently spoke with Perry, a recent MBA grad who now works as an assistant brand manager in Parsippany, N.J., about the high response rate his requests for informational interviews yielded last year -- despite the recession. Herewith, some of the biggest mistakes that Perry suspects recent grads seeking informational interviews make:
Making it all about you. Asking a stranger to review your resume, introduce you to the head of HR, or let you know if they hear of any job openings is the kiss of death. Instead, tell them you're interested in the company and would like to speak to them about the corporate culture and their own career with the firm. (See one of Perry's sample informational interview requests.)
Disregarding their time. You may have room in your schedule for a leisurely hour-long lunch, but most busy employees can't devote this kind of time to someone they just met online. Make it easy for the person with whom you wish to speak to accommodate you: suggest a quick 15-minute phone call. As Perry points out, most people will give keep talking for 30 minutes if they have more to say.
Making them hunt for relevant details about you. In the interest of respecting people's time, you'll want to keep your informational interview request short and to the point. But that doesn't mean you should leave them guessing about the key details of who you are, how they can reach you, and where they can learn more about you (via LinkedIn profile, your professional blog, or another website).
Throwing grammar, courtesy, and professionalism to the wind. Nothing says "Delete this e-mail!" faster than a message riddled with typos, text-message-speak, or a sense of entitlement. Instead, proofread your messages, have friends you trust check your work, and remember to express your appreciation and gratitude.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant based in the Seattle area.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
- career profile (169)
- cool jobs (74)
- education and training (63)
- entry level (70)
- etiquette (108)
- events (71)
- featured (442)
- finding your passion (98)
- health care (76)
- interviewing (91)
- job fairs (61)
- management (96)
- market trends (92)
- networking (286)
- resumes (103)
- salary (85)
- social media (94)
- technology (118)
- unemployment (57)
- work/life balance (93)