Informational interviews and networking…
As I have mentioned numerous times, the strength of the Trojan network is incredible. Alumni feel a solid bond to USC and Marshall, are very receptive, and want to help in any way they can. Networking and going for coffee chats early in an internship/job search is extremely valuable. With each informational interview, I have walked away from the experience learning something new. Here are some tips that I have found helpful for my coffee chats:
- Don’t be afraid to reach out. The alumni directory, as well as the career center, are great ways to find alumni working at companies or industries of interest.
- Do your research. Prior to a meeting, make sure to research the company and role of the person with whom you are meeting. Additionally, check out relevant current events.
- Prepare questions prior to your meeting. Do not waste your time or theirs by asking questions about the industry, company, or their role which can easily be found on the company’s website. Often times, thoughtful questions can provide invaluable insight that may be useful if you end up interviewing with the company.
- Be aware of the time. It is important to be mindful of the time for your informational interview, especially as your contact is taking time out of his/her day to meet with you.
- Before you leave, ask your contact for one or two other references who work at a similar company or in a similar role. Doing so provides you with additional insight and potential opportunities.
- Follow-up. Make sure to send a thank you immediately following the informational interview. Additionally, continue to follow up with your contact.