As someone who has been in the non-profit world for umpteen years, I am often asked to do informational interviews with people (usually young women) who are looking for a first job or even with older folks who are interested in making a career change.
I am always happy to have these meetings -- particularly if it causes some old friend to call or contact me about setting up the meeting. Some people only call you when they need you -- and YOU KNOW that is a-ok with me, so bring it on.
Five Tips for Informational Interview Seekers:
- Have your friend (or mom or the last person with whom you had an informational interview and referred you to me) call me up and ask me to meet with you. This is the best way to get a happy Paige calling or contacting you back quickly. Will I still hold the meeting if my acquaintance doesn't actually ask me to do it before you call me? Yes, I will, but I want my friend to ask me because I'd like to hear from them. Otherwise, my friend is just another person in my FaceBook feed vacationing in Costa Rica or posting pictures of their kids graduating from high school.
- Bring your resume with you to the meeting. Even if you have emailed it to me in advance, have a copy to pull out if I ask you for it. That shows me that you really want a job/career change -- and I might just have someone in the office that day who might be interested in hiring you. Be prepared!
- I've said this before, but arrive on time for the meeting. Don't come early -- I hate to think of you waiting while I'm finishing up a project that I planned for the 15 minutes prior to our meeting -- and for sure don't arrive late. Even though this is not a real interview, you strolling in late doesn't make me want to recommend you to my network.
- Be ready to tell me why you want to work in non-profit -- or even why you are interested in learning more about the sector. If you have no passion for the field nor the idea of working in it, don't waste my (or your) time.
- Do what I tell you to do if you are really interested in finding a job. Follow up with me after you meet with any contacts I give you. Shoot me an email if you apply for a job -- I want you to be successful because I am invested in your success. Be sure to join the groups and organizations that I recommend too -- becoming involved in Dallas is important for all people who work in non-profits!