Informational interviews are a great way to learn about a career field that is of one’s interest. Through an informational interview, one can connect with a professional in one field of career interest and ask them questions to learn about career paths, industries, and organisations.
I always tell my students that your academic competencies are not the only way to decide about your career path. You need to ascertain your interests and then speak with people within the industry to know more about those careers.
To begin with one can start to explore contacts within their own inner circle of relatives and friends belonging to the career field of their interest and start speaking to them. Next step would be to ask them with other relevant contacts in order to expand network. Informational interviews is not only a great way to learn about the career field but also build your network.
Your goal should be to build authentic relationships with professionals who can help you make informed decisions and can also help you later with internships or job search. Your focus should be to build long term relationships and stay connected even after the informational interview.
Also, everyone might not accept your request for the informational interview and thus it’s important that you view this activity not as a job search but an opportunity to do your career research. So how to you prepare for the Informational Interview.
Steps To Prepare For The Meeting
- Research the industry and organisation before the informational interview.
- Search about the contact online and learn about his career graph. You should have a LinkedIn profile and use it to search about the contact’s profile.
- Be prepared to talk about yourself before the interview. You should be ready with a brief introduction about your education, extra – curricular and career interests.
- Dress appropriately for the interview.
- Prepare questions. Devise a list of 8 to 10 questions which are not the ones you can get information online. The questions should reflect your interest.
Benefits of Informational Interviews
- You get first hand information and detailed information about the career.
- You can also get to know about the growth of the industry over the years.
- You can get information about careers within the industry which you weren’t aware about.
- You get an opportunity to learn what it’s like to work for an organisation.
- High school and college students who learn how to conduct an informational interview will have a competitive advantage over others at the time they start looking out for jobs.
- You build a network years before you are to enter the job market.
- Informational interviews can guide students with help in course selection, college selection, internship opportunities, summer jobs.
Whether you are a high school student or a college student, a fresher or a person who wishes to change a career, informational interview can make you better prepared to build career.
Most importantly do remember to send a thank you note after every interaction. And maintain relationships by initiating contact at regular intervals. This shows that you are a keen learner and want to stay abreast with the updates of the industry.
Have you ever conducted an informational interview or have been interviewed by a student? Do share your experiences.