For job-seekers, 6 steps to getting your foot in the door

An informational interview is a great way to introduce yourself to a company and see whether it’s the proper fit. Here’s how to get—and nail—that interview.

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She wants to relocate to Chicago—where I live and work—and she asked me for tips on how to approach informational interviews with companies and agencies.

The purpose of these interviews is to learn about the company, meet employees, and introduce yourself to the company. They aren’t necessarily tied to a job opening.

My friend was curious about how to ask for such a meeting and which questions to bring to the interview.

I went through this process about a year ago when I was considering a move to Chicago for a job change. I found the following practices to be most helpful and successful.

Avoid the ‘cold call’

If at all possible, find an “in” with the company through a mutual connection. Start with your immediate network to see whether someone can introduce you to a current or former employee. If you’re having trouble, you can also try your school’s alumni association or a referral through a professional organization or social club. It’s easier to get off on the right foot if you can be more than a random job-seeker contacting HR.

Plan carefully

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