Issue #5: Femme Fatale is D.C.'s newest, coolest pop-up 😎

Get excited! New things are happening in Washington, D.C. that are worth throwing a party about. In NoMa, there's a brand new pop-up filled with women-owned businesses. Below, readers will also be able to take a look at some of the District's coolest fashion designers. And don't forget to check out the National Museum of Women Artists' newest exhibition!

How do I get, prepare for, and execute an informational interview? I keep getting advice that I should do this—but I haven't ... and the concept scares me a little.

OK, so, first, I gotta say … I don’t think informational interviews are worth your or anyone else’s time.

But let’s start at the beginning. What is an informational interview? Basically, it’s when you approach someone who works at a company you’re interested in working at to learn more about it. In theory, the goal is to get information to use in the future and to build connections and relationships.

In practice, it’s a backdoor tactic people use to circumvent the hiring process (or, at least, to try to get a leg up in the process) at a place they’re either planning to apply at, or already have applied at. Which is why a lot of hiring managers don’t really agree to do them; they’ve been burned by people insisting that it’s just an informational interview only to see them apply the next day for a job that they “omg just noticed, that is so perfect.”

What’s so bad about that, you might ask? Two things:

  1. It’s often a giant waste of time because you’re not learning anything you couldn’t have learned either by researching online or by actually, you know, getting interviewed by the hiring manager as part of a hiring process.

  2. It’s often inequitable because the people who do things like pester hiring managers to talk to them outside of established hiring systems tend to be people with more privilege; aka more male, more white, higher social/economic status, etc.

There are plenty of people out there who will tell you you should avoid the standard hiring processes at companies at all costs, that you should get informational interviews, that you should call or email hiring managers directly to introduce yourself and make your case, and that the only way to get a job is to network and sell yourself on it. In some industries, this is absolutely true (including sectors where big parts of your job is bugging people, like sales). Personally, though, I’m not sure I’ve ever met a hiring manager who appreciates these tactics.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think you should limit yourself to applying to the resume black hole and calling it good. You should go to conferences and gatherings where people who have jobs you’d like to eventually have gather. You should find the blogs and industry news outlets in your niche and start reading them (SmartBrief newsletters are a great place to start). And tune in next time for some tips on better networking!

If you’ve got a work, job-search, or networking question for Kim, hit her up at kimberlee.stiens@gmail.com or find her on Twitter: @ranavain

  • In NoMa, a brand new 4,500-square-foot retail space, called Femme Fatale DC, brings 60 women-owned businesses under one roof. [DCist]

  • This woman-led store in D.C. is a one-stop shop for locally made food, jewelry, clothing, and home goods. [The Washington Post]

  • Hundreds of contemporary female artists participated in a historic photo at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. [East City Art]

  • Meet some of D.C.’s hometown fashion designers. [DCist]

Through January 21, 2018: The National Museum of Women Artists is hosting an exhibition that features 21 black women artists whose visual approaches range from abstract expressionism to color field painting to minimalism.

Michelle Goldchain and Kim Stiens contributed to this newsletter.