Career Resources

Sunday, August 3, 2014

A Proven Success Tip for Your Informational Interviews

Recently, I was asked by a colleague to conduct an informational interview with her. Being a huge fan of this form of networking, I readily agreed. We had a nice lunch and great conversation. To my surprise, most of her questions were about my career path and things she had read on my LinkedIn profile, as opposed to questions about the career counseling field or the university where I currently work. To be honest, I loved the opportunity to talk about myself and my career path. How often do we have a chance to talk about ourselves without boring others to death or appearing to be egotistical? 

I know that many students are intimidated at the thought of conducting informational interviews with professionals in their career field. However, if you remember that people love to talk about themselves and can get them to do so during your meeting with them, it is almost gauranteed that they will take a liking to you and want to help you out in your career. So, when preparing for your informational interviews, make sure to research the person's LinkedIn profile and develop a list of questions about his or her career path.

This principle is actually discussed in Dale Carnegie's book How to Win Friends & Influence People. A book that has been translated into every written language and sold more than 15 million copies can't be wrong now, can it?

Got Skills? Show them!

When working with my students in developing resumes and cover letters, I always recommend that they incorporate key words from the job description because many companies these days are electronically scanning resumes and cover letters for key words. If you don't have the key words they want, you won't make the first cut.

The key, however, in using key words is to show how you used them in an internship, job, school project or volunteer or leadership experience. It is not a good idea to just have a laundry list of skills - anyone can do that. For example, I could list on my resume that I have super human intelligence, but if I can't prove it, no one is going to believe me. On your resume demonstrate through your action statements how you've used your skills and provide examples in your cover letter. Show them what you've got by putting your skills into action!