Informational Interview Tips

I’m a big fan of informational interviews. I got my foot in the door at my current employer through an informational interview and have made a point of agreeing to meet with almost anyone who asks me to do one.

The point of an informational interview is to learn about a job, company or industry from someone with inside knowledge. Done right, it can provide insight into an organization/role/category you might not otherwise have access to.

I’m sure there are systematic ways to get informational interviews (LinkedIn is probably great for this) but a good place to start is to email your family and friends and ask them to introduce you to someone who works in Industry X or Y. Once you arrange a few informational interviews, get the most out of them by remembering a few things:

Do your research. This is true for any interview (You have no idea how many people are unsuccessful in the interview process simply because they didn’t take the time to learn basic things about the organization they’re applying for) but especially true for an informational interview because the person who has agreed to meet with you doesn’t stand to gain anything from this interaction.

Be flexible. Not everyone has the lucury of being able to meet with you during their work hours. If you want to meet with someone, you should be prepared to meet them for coffee at an odd hour or on the weekend. If you don’t want to meet with someone badly enough to do it at an inconvenient time, you’re probably wasting both of your times.

Ask good questions. Don’t go into this interview expecting the person you’re meeting with to do all the talking. Draw up a list of questions and then ask yourself  if the answer to that question will help determine if this job/company/industry is a good fit for me?”. If it won’t, scratch that question from the list and come up with another one that will.

Examples:

  • How did you get into this industry?
  • What do you think the best job in this organization is?
  • What kinds of people are successful in this role?
  • What is the best part of your day-to-day job?
  • What is the worst part of your day-to-day job?
  • What advice would you give to someone looking to get a foot in the door here?

Network. You’ve had the awesome opportunity to meet with someone who has a job you’d like. What’s the worst thing you can do? Leave that meeting without any further introductions. You should always ask, either at the end of the interview or in your follow-up email, if that person knows anyone else they think you should meet. If you seemed genuinely interested into what they had to say and were respectful of their time, the answer will almost always be “yes”.

Say Thank You. Send a card or an email thanking the person for their time and telling them you really enjoyed meeting with them. Do this even if it’s not true. You never know when you’ll meet that person again.

Ryerson has some great tips on how to get the most out of informational interviews.

 

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Gabby Giffords’ NYT Op-ed

Is a must-read.

They will try to hide their decision behind grand talk, behind willfully false accounts of what the bill might have done — trust me, I know how politicians talk when they want to distract you — but their decision was based on a misplaced sense of self-interest. I say misplaced, because to preserve their dignity and their legacy, they should have heeded the voices of their constituents. They should have honored the legacy of the thousands of victims of gun violence and their families, who have begged for action, not because it would bring their loved ones back, but so that others might be spared their agony.

The Huffington Post has a Great 404 Error Page

The Huffington Post has a Great 404 Error Page

This is awesome. Nicely done, HuffPo.

Cherry Blossom Art

Painted Cherry Blossoms Photo

Gorgeous.

“At night, the trees’ colors fade. They become silhouettes against the city’s brightly lit skies. Unless, of course, you take it upon yourself to light them up.

This is what Jacques Domenge does with a technique known as “light painting.” He sets his camera (a Canon 5D Mark II), mounted to a Gorillapod, to the bulb setting and then methodically waves a flashlight (the Fenix TK35, “the most powerful flashlight I could find”) across his composition. Each picture can take anywhere from 30 seconds to three or four minutes. Sometimes people walk in front of the camera while he is taking the picture, but they don’t show up if he doesn’t “paint” them with his flashlight.”

Sheryl Sandberg Wrote “Lean In” For Men Too!


Sheryl Sandberg

Sandberg mentions in the book that she wrote it “for any man who wants to understand what a woman—a colleague, wife, mother, or daughter—is up against so that he can do his part to build a more equal world.”

On another note, “Three Reasons Men Should Read Lean In” makes some excellent points.

I Found the Perfect Lipstick/Lip Balm!

I bought a new lip product that I love!

It’s a lip balm/lipstick hybrid with a super creamy texture and uber saturated colours. Great recommendations from one of the beauty blogs I regularly read. Thanks!

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Happy Spring!

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Photo of snowdrops popping through the wintery ground, courtesy of my mom.

Olivia Wilde is the Best

She really is.

Olivia Wilde 2013

Proof? During a recent appearance on The Tonight Show, Wilde read the insane Tweets she received from Bieber’s fans after she tweeted at Bieber to put his shirt when he appeared topless walking around London in a photo.

My favourite part:

“‘Are you a lesbian or are you too old?’” Wilde read from one Bieber fan. “It’s great because it’s a question I had never asked myself before,” she said of the note. “And I was wondering if it’s that I’m too old to be a lesbian because I did just have a birthday, so I may have missed my window.”

Enjoy Life

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