By Sara Williscroft, ABC, CDMP

A job search usually starts in front of a computer or on your cell phone. In fact, most job searchers end up emailing a litany of resumes from the comfort of your Lazy Boy, likely wearing your pyjamas. Yet, passive searches like this, equate to only a 20 percent success rate.

In fact, most people find their next opportunity through networking and informational interviews. But how do you set yourself up for success? How do you put your best foot forward and get the lead you need? Here are five tips from an oil and gas recruiter that will help you nail your next information interview:

  1. Start close to home.

Go through your current contact list and identify the people already in your corner. These are the people that could have a vested interest in helping you get your next job. Don’t be afraid to use your IABC membership as a conduit to a conversation – talking about our last event, or even something you read on the blog is an easy conversation starter.

  1. Be interested, not interesting.

The meeting should be about 30 minutes long, with the majority of it focused on talking about them. Come prepared with three to five really insightful, thoughtful questions about their work and their career progression. The goal is to hear their story, what they know, who they know and advice on how to go forward.

  1. Show up.

The biggest mistake you can make in these initial meetings is appearing desperate. No matter how much you have riding on these meetings, always look confident, poised and dressed as if you were at an actual job interview. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will either.

  1. Leave with a name.

At the end of the conversation, ask if they know anyone else that you should connect with. You want to grow your network and arrange the next informational interview that could get you closer to the job. And don’t forget to ask them if there is anything you can do to help THEM. This positions you as a professional that is thoughtful and ready to jump in and help – a person anyone would want on their team.

  1. Follow-up, but not too much.

Take notes throughout the meeting, ask questions and a week or so later, send an email thanking them for the meeting and following-up on something they had said. You could even suggest that if they come across any jobs that may suit you, to forward them on. Your job now is to keep in touch without bombarding them with emails.

These interviews can be awkward, but by putting your best self forward and following these tips, you will set yourself up for a great conversation that could be the one that helps you land your next job.

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