Can you relate to this? You reached out to a contact you’ve wanted to connect with, and they agreed to meet with you. Perhaps you told them you would like some information about their industry or their position as you’re deciding which career path is the one for you. Or maybe you’re looking for a job and would like an insider’s take on a particular company.
You definitely want to make the most out of your meeting, so you’ve researched the company and prepared your questions. Now you’re wondering whether you should bring your resume to get your contact’s input on it. I had a client ask me that question this week, and it’s a good question. And a common one, so thought I’d share my answer with you too.
Let me say right off the bat, that like most career-related topics if you ask X number of people, you will probably get an equal number of different answers, but this is my take.
One of the reasons why networking meetings known as informational interviews are such an effective strategy is that they’re a low pressure way to make connections and get information about an industry, company, or specific position – you’re not seeking a job, only information.
Basically you’ve asked your contact to meet with you as a favor to give you information – so to pull out your resume is almost bait and switch, unless you’ve let them know in advance of the meeting that’s your intention.
I don’t think it’s a smart move most of the time to make the meeting about your resume. You want to keep the meeting low pressure for them and really make a connection. It’s fine to bring your resume – if they ask to see it, you’ll have it.
Otherwise focus on the topic at hand – getting information and advice for moving forward.
Use your meeting to connect with the person – ask purposeful questions and actively listen to his/her answers – and form a bond.
If you ask their opinion on your resume, then their head is going to be in the resume rather than focusing on you and your conversation – you might lose out on making a quality connection.
And they may end up giving you input that conflicts with input other people have given you – that can really be confusing and muddy the waters.
Truth be told, EVERYONE is going to have a different opinion on your resume – so my advice is to do the best you can to write it well – seek out professional help, reach out to your college career services office, and/or ask a trusted professional friend or two for their counsel, then write your resume, tailored to the specific position you are seeking, and call it done.
You will get more traction by connecting with people rather than having a brilliant resume. Don’t get me wrong – a well-written resume is important, but a resume can only take you so far if you can’t connect in person.
So prioritize making those connections and make the most of every opportunity you have for informational interviews.
After the meeting, email a sincere thank you and attach your resume. There will be a greater likelihood this way of a referral – it will make it easier for your contact to forward your resume to someone who might have an available position – plus you will have solidified your connection with the individual.
One last note, it’s always great to follow up with a handwritten thank you note as well – that small gesture is really unusual in this day-and-age, so can really make you stand out. And keep an eye out for ways you can help your contacts out – we’re all in this together.
To your success-