travel-money1

About Me

About Me

IMG_5937

Hi, I’m Elaina and I want to help you live life on your terms, find a career you love, and travel as often as you want. 

 

I’ve lived, worked, and traveled to more than 60 countries, including some pretty off-the-beaten path destinations like Mongolia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Paraguay. I’ve also lived out of a suitcase as a full-time nomad for the past 4.5 years, ever since leaving my management consulting gig in New York back in 2013 when I landed an international role at a media company that sent me all over the world to work. You can read my full story here

 

What makes my story unique is that I’ve traveled AND built a professional career, working for companies like IBM and Uber over the years. I’ve also spent long stretches of time freelancing and traveling adventurously through South America, Asia, and Africa. I’m currently freelance writing, coaching professionals through career transitions, and working on a few small business ideas while splitting my time between Berlin, the US, and India. 

 

I write about self-development, digital nomadism, charting unconventional life paths, finding REAL jobs overseas, pursuing long-term travel, and living more purposefully in a fast-paced, confusing world. There’s simply no one-size-fits-all model for creating a life you love. I’m not a full-time digital nomad and I’m not a full-time corporate professional: I’ve done things a bit differently and I think it’s feasible for more people to live “off the beaten path” this way. I hope my blog lets you see that it’s both possible and practical.  

 

I started this blog because I want to help you find an exciting career, travel the world, break the norms, and develop yourself both personally and professionally. Read on or get in touch to set up a 1:1 session with me: elaina@lifebefore30.com.

As Seen On

5 Steps to Ace Your Informational Interview

Posted on September 11th, 2014

unitedemployment.com1

Photo credit: Unitedemployment.com

 

If you’ve been following along here at Life Before 30 or even working with me personally in my office hours, you know the importance I place on what I call “informational interviewing” – seeking out roughly 30 minutes with someone you admire to casually position yourself for a current or future position at their company.

 

Informational interviewing works because it connects you on person-to-person basis with someone at a company that may otherwise have a hyper-competitive hiring process. By gaining human traction, you’re more likely to get an invite to have your resume seen by not a robot and line up a “real” interview for a position at a later time.

 

Core philosophy here: Get someone on the inside to know you exist and be so tickled by the idea of working with you that you score a spot on their company’s short list for future opportunities.

 

If you’re a believer in my interviewing approaches, which in my own practice have landed me 1:1 time with the head of one of China’s biggest tech start-ups and another big mover-and-shaker in Africa’s e-commerce scene, then you may soon find yourself sitting nervously in front of your Skype, sweating in disbelief that you’ve also scored half an hour with someone you’re really amped to speak with.

 

jeffkinley

Photo credit: JeffKinley.com

 

Let’s go over 5 ways to make sure you really shine and take advantage of this unbeatable opportunity to catapult yourself into a dream gig.

 

1. Have a stated purpose for the call. You reached out. They agreed. This is not a big deal, but this is also a pretty big deal. Make sure your e-mail correspondence prior to your phone date indicates exactly why you would like to speak with this person, what questions you have about their industry or their company, and what career decisions you have coming up that they may meaningfully weigh in on.

 

Example: Tim, I really appreciate you agreeing to a short call to learn more about XYZ Green Company and your work in the environmental advocacy sector. Your role leading the 2014 Campaign for International Water Activists is very impressive, especially since I know you also navigated a transition from consulting to public policy. I am looking to make similar moves in the next 3-6 months and would love to pick your brain about how you did it and what advice you have for a young professional with my background in biology and management. Looking forward to calling you at +1 999 888 7373 Thursday at 3pm EST! Thanks again. Elaina

 

It goes without saying that you should also be 100% flexible to their schedule and provide clear contact information and indicate who will call who. Attention to simple details like this prevent missed connections and awkward inconveniences for both parties.

 

2. Do your homework. In order to achieve the aforementioned “stated purpose of the call” and avoid said person thinking they are wasting their time, you need to treat this seriously. Google everything about the company, the industry, and the individual so they don’t have to recite information that can already be found online. Use this opportunity to ask questions whose answers cannot be found anywhere on the internet and have a truly engaging conversation. Also be prepared for this “chat” to turn more interview-like if they begin to see you fitting into a position somewhere or they want to feel you out in a more concrete way. Just in case, prepare in advance as if it was going to be a real interview, but YOU are not the one that makes that subtle transition.

 

3. Keep the tone energetic and exploratory. Once on the phone, do not waste time. Be obviously excited to talk to them, and get right to the point. Thank them for their time, mention again the purpose of the call, and do a short, humble, but subtly impressive introduction of yourself that demonstrates that you know who you are, what you do, and what you want. Do not mention a job unless they do. Do not send your resume unless you are asked. This is about you learning about what they do and being extremely appreciative of their time to do a short, informal mentoring session.

 

4. Pick their brain. Come prepared with good questions. Find out what this company needs most right now and soft-sell yourself as fitting that role. Put yourself in their shoes and ask strategic questions. Using this approach, you want to showcase your potential fit in their organization and impress them with what a sharp thinker you are and how much knowledge you have about their company and/or industry. Core strategy: This is a soft self-sell.

 

Example: Tim, I found it really interesting to hear that XYZ Green Company is also expanding into Asia in 2015. Given my prior experience doing market research in China and Southeast Asia and having taken a look at your company’s criteria for expansion, I was surprised XYZ is not looking into Indonesia, for example, with renewables forming 15% of its energy sector. In your opinion, what has made your teams successful in new markets and what are the most promising opportunities, geographically speaking, down the pipeline?

 

5. Be smart about how you wrap-up. As your time is winding down (and do be respectful of the allotted time), indicate your interest in staying in touch and that you would be appreciative to know of any new opportunities coming up in X field. Most importantly, make sure to ask the key question that keeps your networking momentum going: “Based on our conversation today, is there anyone else you’d recommend I speak with?” Take notes on any names and follow up accordingly if they forget to make the swift introductions they inevitably will have offered.

 

Remember, unless they initiate the discussion, do not make any direct comments about specific job openings. As you keep in touch, you can raise your interest in opportunities within their organization after  a few weeks time, but not immediately. If you made a good impression and they saw your potential, you won’t be easily forgotten, and you may even find yourself receiving a follow-up from their side in a few weeks if something interesting comes across their desk. Regardless, make sure to send a thank you email and reiterate your interest in staying in touch.  Because as you know if you follow my strategies carefully, you’ll be reaching out to them again soon anyway.

 

By conducting a healthy number of informational interviews using this framework, you will be able to open your own doors to interesting companies, forge human connections, and expand your network of personal and professional contacts that lead to real jobs and opportunities down the line. Good luck!

 

bobsoftware.com.br

Photo credit: bobsoftware.com.br

—-

 

Do you find informational interviews helpful? What techniques do you think maximize the impact of these sessions? Please share ideas and good links in the comments section below.

 

Did you find this article helpful? Please share with your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter.

Suggested Posts

About Me

About Me

IMG_5937

Hi, I’m Elaina and I want to help you live life on your terms, find a career you love, and travel as often as you want. 

 

I’ve lived, worked, and traveled to more than 60 countries, including some pretty off-the-beaten path destinations like Mongolia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Paraguay. I’ve also lived out of a suitcase as a full-time nomad for the past 4.5 years, ever since leaving my management consulting gig in New York back in 2013 when I landed an international role at a media company that sent me all over the world to work. You can read my full story here

 

What makes my story unique is that I’ve traveled AND built a professional career, working for companies like IBM and Uber over the years. I’ve also spent long stretches of time freelancing and traveling adventurously through South America, Asia, and Africa. I’m currently freelance writing, coaching professionals through career transitions, and working on a few small business ideas while splitting my time between Berlin, the US, and India. 

 

I write about self-development, digital nomadism, charting unconventional life paths, finding REAL jobs overseas, pursuing long-term travel, and living more purposefully in a fast-paced, confusing world. There’s simply no one-size-fits-all model for creating a life you love. I’m not a full-time digital nomad and I’m not a full-time corporate professional: I’ve done things a bit differently and I think it’s feasible for more people to live “off the beaten path” this way. I hope my blog lets you see that it’s both possible and practical.  

 

I started this blog because I want to help you find an exciting career, travel the world, break the norms, and develop yourself both personally and professionally. Read on or get in touch to set up a 1:1 session with me: elaina@lifebefore30.com.

As Seen On

As Seen On

As Seen On

Sign Me Up

Sign Me Up
I'm planning something big! Stay in touch and be the first to know what I'm up to.

Sign me up

Location

Current Location

Map

Current Location

Currently in: Malawi

 

 

Previously in: Berlin

 

img_6015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Hot

Recent Posts

Coaching

Coaching

Step into my office!

 

Five years ago, I changed my whole life in 30 days. I scored the job of my dreams, quit my job in New York, sold everything I owned, moved to West Africa, and never looked back. Read about it here.

 

Now I use Office Hours to help my clients do the same.

 

Do you want to travel but are scared to quit your job?

Do you want to find a job overseas but don’t know where to start?

Do you wake up in the morning dreading what’s ahead?

Read more

Like Me on Facebook

Like Me on Facebook

Follow me on twitter

Follow me on twitter

Instagram

Elaina on Instagram

As Seen On

As Seen On

Sign Me Up

Sign Me Up
I'm planning something big! Stay in touch and be the first to know what I'm up to.

Sign Me Up

Current Location

Current Location

Map

Browse Articles

Currently in: Malawi

 

 

Previously in: Berlin

 

img_6015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Hot

Recent Posts

Coaching

Coaching

Step into my office!

 

Five years ago, I changed my whole life in 30 days. I scored the job of my dreams, quit my job in New York, sold everything I owned, moved to West Africa, and never looked back. Read about it here.

 

Now I use Office Hours to help my clients do the same.

 

Do you want to travel but are scared to quit your job?

Do you want to find a job overseas but don’t know where to start?

Do you wake up in the morning dreading what’s ahead?

Read more

Like Me on Facebook

Like Me On Facebook

Follow me on twitter

Follow me on twitter

Instagram

Elaina on Instagram