Informational Interviews Benefit All

The other week I met with a former colleague and her daughter over dinner. We were discussing her future. She was interested possibly in a marketing career, but definitely doing something to help others.

She was a confident young woman in her final year of college. She didn’t hesitate to ask probing, but respectful, questions about my career. And she asked for advice.

It was a great way to spend a few hours. I enjoy helping others start their careers because, even though it’s been many, many years, I still remember attempting to navigate those early years on my own.

If you ever have the opportunity to participate in an informational interview, I highly recommend it. Usually, the student will come to you through a friend. It might be their son or daughter, or the son or daughter of a friend of a friend. It doesn’t matter how they reach you; it does matter that they reached out.

I offered to review the young woman’s resume, and she promptly sent it that weekend. She also connected with me on LinkedIn. Both smart moves because it demonstrated follow-through. In reviewing her resume, I realized, I had not looked at mine in a few years, so I tweaked it a bit. It’s always good to keep the resume fresh. I also updated my LinkedIn account.

This young woman had reached out to me to network, and I realized I had not been networking as consistently as I should. I immediately scheduled a few coffees and lunches so that I could reconnect with professional peers.

In sharing my career highlights, I recalled what is important to me. When I returned home, I looked at all my activities, and reviewed them. The ones that were moving me in the direction I want to go with my career, I kept. The ones that were an extra, I decided to stop doing so I’d have more times for the critical ones, and also more time for relaxation.

Sometimes the best advice is the advice we give others.