Networking can be hard, but one great trick you can use is the "informational interview." Simply find someone who works in a company or a job you're targeting and ask for a conversation to learn more. To save them time and make it casual, ask them to meet for coffee or lunch. You'll normally learn more about a target company or occupation over lunch than you might in months of researching, and you'll often discover job openings and gain connections you'd otherwise miss.
Use these three tips to start tapping the power of an informational interview:
Use your employer target list – Look for hiring managers or people in your network who work at a target employer by searching for the company on LinkedIn or Google. Narrow your search to your local area, so you can meet in person. If you don't find anyone that way, ask the receptionist to connect you to someone from the department you're targeting.
Make contact – Be personal and sincere -- do not use the default generic messaging options if you are using LinkedIn. Simply ask this question: "I'm really interested in your work and your company. Would you be willing to have a conversation with me over lunch or coffee about your job and how you started in your career?"
Ask great questions – Most people are flattered that you would want to know about their life and even more flattered that you might want to be like them. When you meet, ask personal questions such as, why they chose their job, what they like about their current company, and recommendations they have for you to gain experience in their field. Always close by asking if they are aware of any opportunities in their current company or anyone else they'd recommend you talk with next.
Use these tips and you may just find that you’ve taken a big step toward finding your next job.
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