Informational Interviews

Informational interviews are a great way to talk to people in different careers. As a student, it’s good to take the time to explore different sectors just by reaching out and meeting people who work in them. You won’t get a yes from everyone, and that’s ok. Informational interviews are usually a relaxed chat where you can ask someone questions about what they do and what their work is like. It’s easy-going and you’re not being interviewed. You’re just asking about the job and industry, trying to figure out if it’s something you would like to do. 

Informational interviews have been really useful for me to think about what will work for me and certain things I want to do. I spent this past summer, the last one before I graduate, speaking with people in different careers. It was truly a great way to hear about what jobs are out there and see what careers I could see myself doing. From it, I’ve been able to explore different work environments and roles and imagine what they would be like. For instance, jobs that require a really competitive personality probably wouldn’t work for me. There were a few roles that people mentioned that being competitive is a good trait for the job which gave me more to think about in terms of fit. 

Even though preparing for informational interviews is more relaxed than for a job interview, preparation is still really important. A great way to start prepping is to think of the questions you want answered. What do you want to know about this job? What’s important to you in a career and what are ways you can figure out if this job has them? Also, always be sure to research the person you’re going to be speaking with. It gives you an idea of what they’ve done and what questions you should be asking, even if a question is asking them to explain their career.

Some questions I usually ask are about their career path, how they knew what they wanted to do, traits suited to their role and industry, a typical day at work, and so on and so forth. Many people are more than happy to talk to students so reach out and see what happens. Again, it’s a really low pressure way to hear about different jobs and careers. Good luck out there!

 

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