A month ago, I began my quest to do informational interviews with 20 people a month. It would be an understatement to say I got off to a slow start.
The first three weeks yielded one awkward conversation with a friend’s former employer, a handful of auto-replies saying that my targets were unavailable, and two unreturned phone calls.
Late in the third week, though, things began to fall into place. Knowing I was going to have to write this post made me more proactive (or desperate!) than I would have been otherwise, and I began expanding my potential contacts. I reached out to acquaintances and people I’ve met only online to ask for contact recommendations. To my surprise, it worked! I’ve now done a total of six interviews. Each one has led to new contacts and I have more conversations lined up for next week.
What’s really blown me away is how nice everyone has been. People have been generous with their time and genuinely willing to help. It’s made the process a lot less intimidating than it seemed at first.
It’s also been helpful knowing that the editors at DailyWorth expected me to come up with something to say in my second post! I strongly recommend that newbie networkers make themselves accountable in some way, such as setting deadlines for themselves or having a friend or mentor check up on their progress.
So far, I’ve talked with graphic designers, a publisher, and two people who work in PR. I’m getting a better sense of the design field, the huge variety of jobs within it, and the way it relates to different industries. I’m increasingly confident that I want to pursue graphic design in some way but I’m still narrowing down exactly how. But between the classes I take and the people I talk to, I think the way will eventually become clear.
I haven’t found my dream job yet—but I didn’t really expect that I would after just one month. However, I’m learning what skills are in demand, finding out what clients and employers are looking for, and building a list of contacts. After almost seven years of largely solitary work, I feel like I’m getting back into the swing of things, professionally. I’m confident now that my dream job is out there and sooner or later I’ll land it!