If you want to get the inside scoop on the variety and diversity of LIS positions available to you, then you should definitely network and conduct informational interviews. This is a critically important job search strategy — and you can take advantage of it whether you are actively conducting a job search or not.
Staying connected and keeping an eye on the job market and on your field of interest gives you an advantage. Research shows that only 10 to 15 percent of available jobs are ever advertised. That means the rest of the job openings are in the hidden job market — the market of networking and informational interviewing.
Networking is not simply an information exchange between you and another person. It involves establishing relationships with people who will often become your friends and community of colleagues as you go through your career. They may be able to help you advance your career in many ways, just as you may be able to help them advance theirs. A networking contact might result in any of the following:
Having your “One Minute Commercial,” “Elevator Speech,” or “15 Second Pitch” ready to go is an essential component of networking. This is your introduction to and your first impression on a new contact. It’s a concise and compelling summary of who you are, what you can do, and what you want to do. It highlights your relevant skills and experience as they relate to the type of position you are seeking. You want to prepare these sound bites ahead of time and rehearse them out loud.
Once you have established networking contacts, your next plan of action is to conduct informational interviews. An informational interview is an arranged meeting or telephone call with a person who works in a particular profession or organization that you are interested in learning more about. You are gathering information about a specific job, field of interest or company. You are not asking for a job, but simply gathering useful job search information.