Identify People to Interview for Informational Interviews
Start with lists of people you already know: friends, fellow students, present or former co-workers, supervisors, neighbors, professors, etc. Review your online social networks — Facebook friends, LinkedIn contacts, and Twitter followers. Professional organizations, Chambers of Commerce, the yellow pages from the phone book, professional organization directories, and public speakers are also good resources.
You may also call an organization and ask for the name of the person by job title. There’s no one in the world you can’t try contacting. People like to help students out with job information. One student whose dream job was to run a Fortune 500 company called the president of Levi Strauss & Co., asked for an informational interview… and got it.
For college students and recent grads, go to your college career center or alumni office and ask for a list of people who are working in the field that interests you. Locate alumni, people you’ve read about, or people your parents know.
Be prepared. Research the organization, person you’ll be speaking with, product produced by the organization, etc. If your contact is an alumnus/alumna, look him/her up in the alumni office’s biographical material. Google him/her — and try venues such as Facebook and LinkedIn.
The more you know, the better you’ll be able to formulate questions pertaining to the organization and job. The more knowledge you have, the more confident you will feel about your ability to communicate effectively. Though you can probably conduct the bulk of your research on the organization’s Website, consider writing to request brochures and pamphlets for additional information. Ask yourself what it is you want to know and then figure out who has an investment in knowing that sort of information.
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