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Informational interviews are the single most important “mad skill” to have in your job-hunting pocket. While the preparation may be extensive, the return on your investment is huge. Preparation is vital to the success of an informational interview. It shows great respect for the person you’re meeting with and being prepared will also make you feel more confident.

Here are some articles that have been helpful for me:

The New York Times http://shiftingcareers.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/01/29/mastering-the-informational-interview/

Bad Pitch Blog http://badpitch.blogspot.com/2009/11/landing-interview-vs-getting-job.html

DarrenBarefoot.com http://www.darrenbarefoot.com/archives/2009/02/how-to-run-a-great-informational-interview.html

Cornell Law School Career Center http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/careers/students/explore_options/informational_interview.cfm

CareerBuilder.com http://www.careerbuilder.com/Article/CB-481-Getting-Ahead-How-Does-an-Informational-Interview-Work/

Vanderbilt Career Center http://www.vanderbilt.edu/career/students/getArticle.php?article=65

Here are some general tips:

1. Do your homework! I know some of you are still in school with a full class load, but after June you’re signing your life away to two weeks vacation anyways, so you’d better get used to it now. Research the person you’re interviewing and the company they work for.

2. Write up some thoughtful and inquisitive questions. (More on this Wednesday).

3. Bring your portfolio and be prepared to present it if time allows and the situation is appropriate.

4. Bring calling cards (I like these) and copies of your résumé.

5. Write a handwritten thank you note once you get home and send it out that same day.

Moreover, be confident in who you are and what you have to offer! Tomorrow I’ll post some tips on knowing what questions to ask during this informational interview.