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Set-Up Informational Interviews With “Career Mentors” Using LikedIn Messaging/Email
Fun, Simple, And No-Pressure System
HOW TO SET UP INFORMATIONAL MEETINGS
(USING LINKEDIN, EMAIL, OR PHONE)
This strategy we outline is by far the easiest, most enjoyable, and no-pressure way to meet people working in the company and career you wish to work in. These people will help you embark on a new career or job.
You will be able to make lifelong friends, colleagues, and career mentors. Simply reach out to this group when it is time to find a job- they will find it for you. 85% of jobs are gotten through personal contacts and never advertised to the public.
It is a no-pressure approach that is pleasant for both you and the person you are contacting.
You will immediately begin to make connections. This strategy is relevant for all career seekers-those changing careers or those choosing to stay in their current career. When doing a job search in the future, you just reach out to your existing network of colleagues. Never fill out another blind application again.
You are going to primarily be using LinkedIn to build your own personal network of “career mentors”. I would spend some time on LinkedIn learning the in’s and out’s. The website is pretty self-explanatory.
Join lots and lots of LinkedIn groups that are in your chosen field.
You can mention these “shared groups” when you contact someone
Follow companies that interest you.
Search for people having “job titles” that interest you.
Search “content” that interests you, etc…
LinkedIn will allow you to search using a number of parameters. For example, if you want to work as a “project manager” you could search for people that currently are “Vice President” level project managers in your chosen field and chosen city.
They would be a good target for an informational meeting if you were looking for work as a “project manager”. Some of the more advanced LinkedIn search parameters require a paid account.
How To Create A Professional LinkedIn Profile
Click Here for directions on how to write a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn changes often-so make sure you edit your profile so it stays up to date.
Most LinkedIn searches can be done with a “free membership”. LinkedIn changes often so I would investigate what the current premium membership offers. Paying a few dollars a month for a more efficient job search is a very small price to pay.
Your goal is to set up “informational meetings” with your chosen contacts. Below is an example we wrote on how to EASILY set up informational meetings with these contacts.
“Hi Paul- My name is Jane Smith. I came across your name by doing a search for experts in the field of (immigration law, etc..) and a member of (Boston University Alumni Association, Immigration Law Foundation, etc…)
I would love to get your career advice for 15-20 minutes.
I have researched the field of (immigration law, etc..) and believe it could be a great lifelong career fit. I am working part-time as a (paralegal, etc..) and am committed to making a (mid-career switch, finding a career where I can help others improve the quality of their lives, etc..)
You have impressive and extensive experience in the field of (immigration law, etc..). I was especially interested in your (personalize this to their specific experience/role, etc..)
Do you think I could pick your brain? Love to learn more about your job and what motivated you to choose (immigration law, etc..) as a career and your (law school experience, etc..)?
I know you are a busy person. I will not take more than 15-20 minutes of your time.
I can meet you for coffee or at your office…or wherever it’s convenient. I will work around your schedule!
Would it be possible for us to meet? Perhaps this coming Wednesday or Thursday?”
When you “connect” with someone on LinkedIn you are limited to how many characters can be written to introduce yourself. So, the above example would need to be shortened a bit. Our advice is to look at someone’s profile and oftentimes you can find other ways to contact them – FB, Twitter, email, or their current employer. You can also do a quick web search using their name. Here is an article that discusses how to find someone’s email. If too many people do not respond to your invitation, LinkedIn might restrict your account. Therefore, we recommend other avenues of messaging someone and if that is not possible- use LinkedIn. This article discusses this strategy.
You can modify your template depending on if you are in full Job Search Mode or Career Investigation/Purpose Mode.
A) Job Search Mode: Make changes to the template so it resonates with your style, personality, current career level, how you first found this person, etc… The goal is ALWAYS to meet in person. If you can’t meet in person then look to do a phone, Zoom, or Skype meeting. You are looking for an “informational meeting” not a “job interview meeting”. People will respond much better to this sort of meeting request. You can create a standard “LinkedIn/email template” but make sure to personalize a bit for each contact.
B) Mission/Career Investigation Mode: This is when you are not actively looking for a job. You are seeking information from the contact to determine if the specific career, industry, or organization fits your career purpose/goal. You would make changes to the above template discussing your desire to get a better understanding of the career, industry, or organization rather than saying it is your passion or that you are actively engaged in a job search
Goal is to get one informational meeting per day. That would be 5/week or 20/month. After 3 months you would now have 60 contacts in your field.
Every week or two you send each of your 60 contacts a follow-up email with an interesting and relevant industry article along with a synopsis of how you are doing in life, mission, and job search.
The more relevant contacts you can call every week or two rather than email. In our experience, it is impossible NOT to get a job if you have 25+ people in your field actively keeping an eye out for job opportunities.
ALWAYS ask your contacts if they can recommend another contact you can speak with. Once you get a job KEEP in contact with these people. At some point, you will be looking for another job and you will need them again.
Be generous with your time and give back to your contacts. Ask them if they want you to keep an eye on certain companies, people, roles as you are conducting your job search. Your job search may provide some value to them. In the beginning, the primary thing you can give back is appreciation. Often times that is all people need…
C) Create a standard list of questions you will ask these contacts. Here is a small sample you can customize to your specific needs:
-Discuss if the specific career, industry, and/or organization fits with your career goal/career purpose
-How did you get into the industry
-Advice for me to break into the industry and/or your company
-Do I have the very basic qualifications to get the job I am targeting?
-How can I build my resume/qualifications?
-How can I differentiate myself from the competition?
– Any people you recommend I should talk to in your company, other companies, your contacts
– Can I use your name when contacting the contacts you just gave me?
-Any further research I should do?
-What do you like/do not like about company, industry, role?
-The links below contain informational interview questions and/or information about networking/career exploration:
https://80000hours.org/career-guide/how-to-get-a-job/ It will take you about 30 minutes to read through this page. It provides a very nice overview/video of the ENTIRE job search process-not just how to set up an informational interview. Halfway down the page, there is a paragraph labeled “how to get referrals”. In this paragraph you will see a link to “best email scripts we’ve found”-this is WORTH READING.
These informational interview questions should be tailored to your goals and the contact you are speaking with.
I would join all the industry groups in your chosen field.
Below is a link that will help you search for INDUSTRY GROUPS.
2 STRATEGIES FOR QUICKER RESULTS:
#1 CALL THE INDUSTRY GROUP ADMIN AND ASK WHAT MEMBERS OF THE ORGANIZATION WOULD BE WILLING TO SPEAK WITH YOU. YOU CAN LEVERAGE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE INDUSTRY GROUP ADMIN TO SET UP A TIME FOR AN INFORMATIONAL MEETING WITH YOUR CHOSEN CONTACT
#2 CALL RATHER THAN EMAIL OR LINKEDIN MESSAGING CONTACTS
Note For University Graduates: If you are a university graduate call the career services department. They can connect you with alumni in the field you wish to investigate. Also join your university group on LinkedIn. Alumni connections are powerful