When You Should Present Your Resume At An Informational Interview:
My client was shocked – maybe you are too. You should never present your resume at an informational interview. I tell my clients never to even bring a copy of their resume to an informational interview, so they aren’t tempted to present it.
Here’s a number of reasons why not:
- It’s not a job interview: Informational interviews, by their definition, are to learn more about a company – not to ask for a job.
- You’ve trashed your credibility: Bringing a resume ruins your credibility, demonstrating ulterior motives to the person you’ve met with. You pitched the meeting as an informational interview, but when you pull out a resume, you’ve turned it into an ambush job interview. Bad idea – see http://recareered.blogspot.com/2010/01/why-candidates-should-avoid-ambush.html.
- Your resume won’t contain information you learned at the informational interview: The whole point of an informational interview is to get information – info that you can use to customize your resume to fit specific company needs. After you’ve had the chance to learn this valuable info, why would you turn over a generic resume, when you could now give yourself much better odds? … even if you ended up in ATS pre-screening.
- Excuse for an additional company contact: If you don’t have your resume with you, you have to contact the manager again to email it, giving you the chance to customize it, and to continue to sell yourself.
- Resumes go to HR: Giving your resume to a manager, who’s not the hiring manager, is usually an express ticket … to HR. Chances are HR isn’t where you wanted your resume to go – you could have just sent it through the company’s website if you had the urge to get pre-screened by the ATS system.
- Wasting your contact’s time: Your company contact just did you a big favor, giving you time out of their busy day to talk about internal issues at their company. Do you want to thank your contact for that favor by giving a piece of paper to send (not even email) to HR … when you can easily do that yourself?
- If you give a resume, it’s paper: HR departments aren’t set up to manage paper resume today – they manage digital documents, emails, and database records. By presenting a paper resume, you introduce an additional step in HR’s process – manual scanning. If your resume falls through the cracks (someone forgets to scan, the paper gets lost, buried, or the manager forgets to deliver it) how can you be considered for a job?
I’ll almost always get client pushback, with questions like “Won’t I look unprepared if I don’t bring a resume?”
Why would you look unprepared? This isn’t a job interview, so why would you bring a resume?
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