8.6   After the informational interview ... tasks and follow-up

Immediately after the interview, document the contact and place the information in your career binder.   Here's the template I showed you when we were talking about your career binder.

Remember what I said before: even if you keep your contact information in a database, you still need to have this information in hardcopy where you have a place where you can quickly take notes. You need to keep everything organized for easy access and review!

Staple the person's business card to the form, and make sure you have written down the names of everyone they referred you to.

Next, "debrief" yourself.  You can do this on the contact form. Make sure you have answered the following questions:
  • What did I learn?
  • How does what I learned fit with my skills, values and interests?
  • What else do I need to know? Who else do I need to talk with?
Then, before the day is out,    send a Thank you note.   It only needs to be a few lines long. Express your appreciation and tell them what you plan to do next.

Finally, review the notes you've taken:  Are there any other action steps to be taken on the basis of the information you obtained?

At the end of each interview, it is time to make certain that you have your next informational interview set up. A really good interview is one that has provided you with names of more people to speak with.

The really best interview is one where you learn that you have found an approachable organization, one that has job opportunities that you can start considering and following up on.

The more of these interviews you do, the more likely it is that you will find a company you want to work for and it will be time to start tailoring your presentation (i.e., your resume) to secure that position.