You've scored the contact. Now set up an informational interview.
Think of the informational interview as the next step in networking. Just like you wouldn't ask for a job during a networking event, you shouldn't ask for a job during the informational interview. The informational interview is just that - informational. It's for you to learn more about your contact - or the company - and for your contact to learn a little more about you.
Before the interview
- Set a place and time - preferably 30 minutes or less - and confirm with your contact.
- Since you'll be the one leading the conversation, prepare a list of questions to ask. How did your contact become who he or she is today? What tips does he or she have for being successful in the field?
The informational interview
- Arrive early.
- Make it a conversation. Try not to make it about a job. There may not event be a job open for you to have. Again, this is a networking opportunity. Show him what you got. If you do well enough, hopefully you'll hear, "I really like your background. Let me think if I know of any available opportunities and I'll circle back with you."
- Be respectful of time.
- Thank your contact at the end of your meeting.
After the interview
- Send a thank you note.
- Follow up. If you haven't heard from your contact after a week or two, send an email with a relevant news article. The goal is to strengthen your connection with your contact.