Informational interviews are one of the best kept secrets when looking for a new job. For instance, you’re currently in engineering and you want to move into business. How do you make the leap?
Informational interviews are the answer! Learn more about them here.
But how do you get one?
Send them an email. For people inside of your company, look up the department managers or team leads, then ask them for an informational interview.
For example, a few years ago I was interested in leaving engineering to pursue a career in business development. I’d recently read an article about a Vice President of International Business Development who made a trip to North Africa to meet some customers in my company’s news letter, so I reached out to him via email. We had several interesting conversations.
Here’s some of the questions I asked:
- How did you get into this industry?
- How did you get into this role?
- What do you love about your job, what excites you about your work?
- What are some of your biggest challenges?
I found out that he made the leap from electrical engineering to business development by reaching out to a few people in the department. After a few months, a position opened up and he was able to make a complete career shift without an MBA! Fast forward 20 years he’s the Vice President of his organization!
A lot of times we put false barriers in our way thinking that we need to have the right degree and certifications. For management/ leadership positions, a master’s degree is highly preferred. Pair that with good connections and you can gain access to places others dream of.
If you’re looking externally, utilize your LinkedIn or other social media connections.
You can search for people you’re interested in meeting. If you have a connection in common, you can ask your connection for an introduction. That will get the ball rolling towards making a new connection. Don’t have have any connections in common? Introduce yourself! This is known as a “cold connection”, and it could be your best shot.
Take a look at this email I used a year ago (before starting my official job search).
Subject: Looking to learn more about the testing labs.
Hello Mike – I’m LaKiesha Tomlin. I just started with the company (a few months ago) in the Supportability group. I’m looking to learn more about the functionalities of test labs here.
In the past, I was the Flight Test Engineer for the F-18 Growler in Patuxent River, MD. It was fun to work in that environment. Especially with the test labs during modifications to the plane and resolving day-to-day issues in the world of flight test.
In the next 2 weeks, I’d like to chat with you to learn more about your background and the test labs here.
Feel free to suggest a time. My schedule is flexible.
Looking forward to your response and have a great day!
It’s that simple.
Who would you love to talk to? Could this person be a potential mentor/ sponsor/ advocate? You’ll never know unless you reach out.
Feel free to use this as a guide to help you build your network and get closer to your dream job!
Happy Connecting! 🙂
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