Karen Bolda: Trials of job hunting

Making a personal connection at the places where you would like to work is an extremely effective strategy to getting a job. This is true even if they do not have any job openings.

The first piece of this technique is obtaining a name of someone who already works there to contact. This can be done by asking everyone within your network if they know of anyone who works there. But once you have a name to contact, then what?

Calling them and asking if they have a job opening that requires your skills is certainly a way to get your name recognized. However, a much more effective technique is to arrange an "informational interview."

An informational interview is a way for you to find out more about the place you would like to work. In the process, you are also making a connection with someone who works there that could eventually lead to a job.

You arrange an informational interview by calling the contact whose name you were given from your network. You simply say that they work at a company you would like to find out more about, would they be available to talk to you for 10 minutes to answer some questions about what they do?

It is very important for you to be clear that you are not going there to ask for a job. You should have a few questions about the job that you really do want to know, such as how much time is spent on each task, or how big of a team they work on. Keep it to the 10 minutes that you asked for.

As soon as you get home, send a beautiful, hand written, sincere thank you card that ends with your contact information. If you have made a favorable impression, they will contact you if a job does open up.

Karen Bolda, M.A., is a meeting facilitator and professional development trainer. She's lived in Ashland for 13 years where she operates her own consulting business. Visit her website at www.karenbolda.com or contact her at karen@karenbolda.com. Karen's workbook "Ace the Interview" is now available for purchase at www.karenbolda.com.