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So Much to Prepare for

Preparation is critical for all networking meetings, not just interviews

➔ There is a regular laundry list of things you should do to prepare for a job interview. That list is widely known and readily accessible.

The same can be said of any meetings (or interviews, if you will) where there is no specific job in question. Informational interviews. One-on-one meetings with contacts or colleagues. Any kind of meeting that will further your job search is included.

In a job interview “the ask” is, of course, the job. In a non-job interview, “the ask” centers around how this person can help you. Providing information, making an introduction – those kinds of things are your “ask.”

There is good news

The good news is that most people are willing and even eager to help. They just don’t know how. That’s why you have to be prepared to “ask.” And, be as specific as you can be. “Do you know someone at XYZ Company?” “Can you forward my resume to John Doe?” “Can I use your name when I call?”

In a broader sense, it makes sense for you to have an actual agenda for these kinds of meetings. It’s your meeting. You arranged it. Know what you want out of it and you should know how to ask for it. And this basic principle holds true for a one-on-one informational interview, or a group networking event. Know what you want to achieve before you leave home.

Especially for one-on-one meetings, it’s not a bad idea to have a list (even if it’s only in your mind) of your target companies. “These are the companies I’m looking at. Do you know anyone who works there?”

Job seeking is a stress-filled activity. No doubt. But being prepared – for anything – inevitably will lessen that stress. Legendary Pittsburgh Steeler football coach Chuck Noll once observed, “Pressure is something you feel when you don't know what you're doing.”

Being prepared is knowing what you’re doing.


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