189 Tristan’s Tip : Reaching Out for Informational Interviews

On the fifty-fourth installment of Tristan’s Tips, our amazing host Tristan Layfield adds on to last week’s tip by discussing the types of people you’ll encounter when you’re reaching out for informational interviews and how you want to approach them. He lists the three kinds you’ll generally run into and offers up a couple great pieces of advice, such as to ensure that at least 50% of the words in the email you send are about the person you’re speaking with. People love to discuss themselves and their careers, so don’t hesitate to take advantage!

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Tristan: What’s going on, Living Corporate?! It’s Tristan of Layfield Resume Consulting, and I’m back to bring you another career tip. This week I want to add on to last week’s tip. Let’s discuss the type of people you’ll encounter when you’re reaching out for informational interviews and how you want to approach them.

When you are reaching out to people to request informational interviews, you’re typically going to run into 3 type of people: those who don’t respond, those who feel obligated, and those who want to help you. Those who don’t respond are the people who could care less about what you’re looking for or trying to do. Those who feel obligated may be a friend, your family, or a friend of a friend. Really anyone who may have a sense of obligation to help you even though they really don’t want to. They might set up a meeting, cancel as it gets closer, and ghost you when you’re trying to reschedule. When you are reaching out, you’re searching for those who want to help, the people I call the advocates. But, unfortunately, that’s only about 20% of the population, which means you are going to have to be persistent and put in some work to find those people. You’ll know if you’ve found them because they typically respond within about 3 business days and seem interested in a phone conversation.

But many of us are approaching these people incorrectly. Conventional wisdom tells us that we need to sell ourselves in the initial contact to get their attention, but let me tell you what’s wrong with that. There is a time and a place to sell yourself. However, the initial contact isn’t that place to do so. When you do, you put that person in what I like to call a “market mindset,” meaning they begin looking for some return on the investment of their time, which you, unfortunately as a job seeker, more than likely won’t be able to provide. Instead, you want to tap into that person’s natural desire to help people, their altruism. You do that by asking for a favor instead of selling yourself. Since the advocates naturally want to help you, you need to play into that. So ask if you can have a few moments of their time and ensure that at least 50% of the words in the email you send are about them. People love to discuss themselves and their careers.

This tip was brought to you by Tristan of Layfield Resume Consulting. Check us out on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @LayfieldResume or connect with me, Tristan Layfield, on LinkedIn.

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