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Offline Networking: What is an informational meeting?

What is an informational meeting?

An informational meeting is an informal meeting with a professional in an area of your career interest. It is a great way to gain more in-depth knowledge about a potential employer, opportunity, or field.  Although this type of meeting often leads to job opportunities, avoid asking for a job at an informational meeting. 

After you identify an organization or individual, reach out via phone, e-mail, or LinkedIn and introduce yourself. Ask for a 30-minute meeting to discuss their career field and/or organization, meeting at their office when possible to get a feel for the environment.

It is your job to lead this meeting, so be prepared with topics and questions.  After you introduce yourself, consider asking these questions:

  • What is a typical day on the job?
  • What is your background/career path?
  • What is the management style/culture of the organization?
  • Is there room for upward mobility?
  • What are the main challenges you see in this career field?
  • What professional associations would you recommend I join?
  • Are there any websites or publications you reference to stay on top of trends in the field?
  • Can you recommend any other professionals in the field for me to meet?

 

In concluding your meeting, follow up with a thank-you letter or e-mail and consider including an interesting article or website related to your contact's professional or personal interests; remember that networking is the art of building and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships.