What is Informational Interviewing? Unlock Potential Career Paths

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Are you looking for a means to develop the right skills for your future job interview and to gain industry insights on your career of interest? Here is a technique to do all that and more! Informational interviews are not your typical job interviews. With information interviewing, you will gain valuable career information and advice, get to know what goes on at the workplace in question, boost your self-confidence, and improve your ability to handle an internship/job interview in the future.

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What is an Informational Interview?

Informational interviews are similar to, but not the same job interviews. At a job interview, you are there to be hired. Whereas, informational interviewing involves the potential employee getting to know more about the job field. You can think of it as an opportunity to speak with a well-learned person in the field that you are considering applying to.

Through the conversation, or what you call an informational interview, you will gain knowledge about the specific type of job, mainly the said person’s career path, industry insights, career advice, and other details about the field or company.

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What does an Informational Interview Entail?

Informational interviewing involves connecting with a professional in a certain field of interest at their office, over the phone, through an online meeting, or even over breakfast or coffee! This interview can be anything you want it to be. While it is less professional than a job interview, remember that it might unlock career development opportunities for you at that firm.

Career development is a huge benefit of informational interviews, but the benefits can extend beyond that. When you reach out to the people you know to gather industrial insights and learn more about their career paths, they might likely connect you to other people in the same or different fields of career. This network expansion will help with your career exploration, and internship/job search, and polish your decision-making and conversational skills in a professional setting.

It is important to remember that it is okay to not get responses back from the people you reach out to. All you need to do is keep trying until you eventually get a slot for an informational interview. Once you do get to it, you will realize that the people are eager and more than willing to help you out!

Here is How to Get Started for an Informational Interview

Once you get a hang of informational interviews, you will open for yourself a potential portal of diverse career paths. But to get there, you need to follow a few simple steps.

Reaching out to your contacts

It is imperative to go about this in the most orderly manner. Make an Excel or Google Sheet to track your list of potential contacts. Organize every name according to their career, job experience, email, and contact information. When reaching out to your contacts for informational interviewing, mention how you found them, your school and area of study, your current job status, preferred means of interaction, and the reason why you are reaching out to them.

Preparing for the meeting

Prepping for an informational interview is just as important as a job interview. Carry out thorough research on the industry that you mean to explore further in your interview. Note down the questions in your mind. You should try to prioritize 8-10 questions because chances are you might not be able to reach the rest due to the limited time window.

When preparing, do not just focus on what you are going to ask the other person. A small chat can help you and the other person get comfortable. This will also help the other person understand what you are more passionate about. Naturally, they will be able to provide you with advice for boosting your career development accordingly.

Conducting the informational interview

Remember that this is a professional interview, so dress appropriately. It is always best to arrive 10 minutes before the allotted time as it speaks of your professionalism and punctuality. Generally, you are not required to carry hard copies of your resume with you. However, it is always advised to carry a few in case it comes up in the conversation.

Post-meeting follow up

Always send a thank you note after every interaction. If you make the other person feel valued for providing you with their time, chances are they will be open to helping you in the future too. Most people think their work ends with the interview, however, this is not the case. Always reach out to them politely in the future, may it be for reporting your progress or sending them an invite to an event that they might be interested in.

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With Apptree Staffing Solutions, you can find temp, temp-to-hire, part-time, and full-time opportunities.

The Bottom Line

When formulating questions for your informational interview, remember that they should be precise and reflect your interest. They should give the impression that you are eager to learn more about your job and are open to advisory insights on boosting your career development.

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