As you get deeper into your post-grad hunt for premium entry level jobs and paid internships, you may discover that you need some more assistance from your network of professional contacts than first expected. While these people may not be able to give you a job directly (and you should never ask them to!), they may be able to set up an informational meeting at their own or a colleague’s organization. Though similar to a job interview, you’ll need some specific tips to get the most out of an informational meeting.
Establish the purpose beforehand
As you begin arranging the meeting, you should be clear with your contact about what you hope to achieve. Let the person know what sort of career direction you’re looking for, what your past professional experiences have been and what you hope to learn or discuss. You may stray from this initial goal, but establishing a general purpose will keep you both focused.
Prepare some questions
Just like a regular job interview, you should have a list of questions prepared before you arrive. While you may get some direction about available opportunities, these topics should primarily be about information gathering so you can improve your overall application process and networking skills.
Don’t be pushy
While you may secretly wish to get a job offer or leads out of an informational meeting, don’t count on it. Anyone who agrees to meet or speak with you over the phone will be doing you a favor, so don’t spoil this opportunity by acting rudely or unprofessionally. If it seems like he or she may want to help connect you with friends in the industry, let it unfold naturally. Even if the meeting seems unfruitful, you’ll have gained a contact that may be able to help you down the road.