After a lengthy career break for caregiving, it's tempting to apply to anything that seems like a fit. Before you begin uploading your resume to dozens of online applications, set yourself up for success by doing a bit of groundwork.
Use this simple email template to ask target contacts well-thought-out questions to gather information about a particular role, industry, career path, or company.
Take a minute to talk to others and learn:
🔸 Is this a good fit for me?
🔸 How can I upskill to *become* an ideal candidate?
The informational interview is a powerful networking tool to build relationships, pave an opportunity for you to stand out, and perhaps land an internal referral.
Discover if this is the right role, industry, or company for you.
Narrow your job search strategy: focus on the positions you really want, companies that jive with your non-negotiables, in an industry that lights you up.
Showcase soft skills
Human-to-human contact is memorable (resumes can't impart warmth).
When you reach out, eager to learn something new (and follow-up with a thank you), this shows initiative, effective communication, teachability, lifelong learning, active listening, intrinsic motivation, research, critical thinking.
Boost your confidence
Getting on the phone, arranging a Zoom call, or in-person meeting is a great prep exercise.
Not only are you learning first-hand info about your target industry, role, or company, you're practicing important skills for more formal conversations and gaining confidence in the process.
Leverage the stats
Around 70-85% of jobs are filled via networking. The stats are in your favour ...
In 2023, employee referrals are still one of the top recruitment methods for hiring.
You may get the inside scoop on upcoming opportunities, expanding teams, new projects and initiatives, which gives you a head start on your application.
Informational interviews are easy, even for introverts
Talk less, listen more
Your contacts do most of the talking and their insights will guide the initial stages of your job search strategy.
Reflect: Do I like the day-to-day of this role? Is this industry intriguing and/or stable enough for me? Will I pursue a role at this company? Your answers will streamline your job-search strategy.
Be curious, and grateful
You get to show genuine curiosity, active listening, and gratitude.
All the research and legwork is done before you start the conversation. You get to be genuinely curious, top off active listening with follow up Qs, and show gratitude for their time and willingness to speak with you.
Relax, b/c low pressure
In the early info-gathering stages, these chats are low-stakes, low-pressure.
You're not in a formal interview [yet] ...
If you're not the "networking" type, treating it as an informal chat will help you relax, make a great first impression, and increase likability.
Enjoy the high ROI
Your motivation to reach out should be huge, because your return-on-investment is statistically *way* better than silently applying online.
Networking lands you connections, inside knowledge, referrals, call-backs ... even mentors and friends.
I'm Rebecca Joy. So glad you're here! I'm a full-time caregiver mama – turned re-entry prospect – turned entrepreneur & educator. I help my fellow caregiver parents land call-backs against crappy odds. After years moonlighting as a copy editor, resume-polisher, and research junkie (yes, I'm the one with 8 windows open and 15 tabs in each one), I've plucked the most relevant tips, tools, and strategies from all the current advice & (mis)information, curated specifically for re-entry moms with resume gaps.
You'll find these gems on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook. Click the icons below to follow.
Excited to walk with you, ignite joy, and watch you soar!