Once you've researched the market, generate a list of informational interview leads. Consider your friends, their friends, acquaintances and friends of your family -- anyone you've ever met who could talk with you about the work world. Don't forget about faculty and alumni of Creighton and contacts at organizations where you've worked.
When you approach people to schedule informational interviews, keep the conversation brief. Tell them:
- how you got their name and contact information (unless they already know you)
- what you're looking for from them (information about a particular industry, ideas for getting your foot in the door at a specific company)
- that you need just a few minutes of their time, completely at their convenience
Consider sending an email before phoning a lead, so the person can instruct his or her administrative assistant to schedule time for you on the phone. (If you have an office phone number for a contact but no email address, call the person's office late at night and leave a voice message.)
When conducting interviews, make it clear that you are not asking for a job. (If one of your leads knows of a position and is interested in hiring you, he or she will mention it.) Remember, these are informational interviews. And try to get at least one new lead from every call you make.
If you feel somewhat unnerved by the thought of calling up strangers, prepare a short script ahead of time. As you gain experience, you'll likely feel more comfortable with the process.
Also, if you're lucky enough to uncover a "star" contact in the right department of a company you'd love to work for, don't call him or her first! Instead, talk initially to people farther out from your "career bull's eye." That way, you'll gain practice with your lower-risk contacts. And by the time you call your star, you'll be that much more knowledgeable.