Welcome to Part 3! Now, lets get caught up. In Part 1 we introduced the moment that sparked this pursuit and in Part 2, we discussed one of the most important vehicles to drive the pursuit. In Part 3, we will talk about how to take control of your pursuit and make the most of it.
The vehicle I've most used to drive my pursuit has been the informational interview. As discussed in Part 2, the informational interview is an excellent way to learn from current professionals in your intended career while simultaneously making a professional connection that could assist you in your pursuit down the line. Personally, I've been conducting informational interviews since my freshman year of college and I can honestly say I was terrible at them until the second semester of my senior year. In Dr. Zullo's Sports Management classes students were given a template to follow, with a list of generic questions that we were supposed to "tailor" to the person we were speaking to. Unfortunately I knew very little about suits so tailoring was not yet a strength of mine. It took nearly my entire college career to learn that informational interviews were an art and not a science; there are nuances and details one must adjust to and above all else one needs to be prepared!
Preparation is the aspect most people overlook prior to an informational interview or any networking opportunity. When I speak of preparation I am not only referring to doing research on the interviewee or personalizing the questions based on their experiences. I am also referring to self preparation and being as knowledgeable about your specific industry as possible. When conversing with industry professionals its important to speak intelligently about the challenges they face. This additional preparation can be the difference between a one time conversation or the beginning of a professional relationship. As my preparation skills improved, the quality of my informational interviews also improved. I found more professionals offering to stay in touch, give advice and provide recommendations to other colleagues for potential informational interviews. Before I knew it, my professional network began to grow exponentially and if you engage in thorough informational interviews, yours will too!
I mentioned in Part 2 that the informational interview changed my professional life for the better, later this month I will begin a new opportunity with the Sports Entertainment Group PLLC, a full service athlete representation firm in Washington, D.C. Thanks to a very productive informational interview, I was referred to the company's founder and CEO; one thing led to another and I was eventually extended an offer for the summer. I cannot only attribute this opportunity to the informational interview, however I can attest that the knowledge and relationships I gained from these conversations were more helpful than any class, conference or convention I have been part of. As you began your pursuit, in whatever industry you may be interested in, I highly recommend the informational interview as a vehicle to take you to where you want to go.