Informational Interviews

Use Informational Interviews to Transform Your Career

In today’s job market, networking is critical. It is more likely that this method, compared to other job-hunting techniques, will be used to fill a job. Informational interviews are an effective form of networking, and are designed to help you gather information and expand your contacts.

What Is It?

An informational interview is not the same as a job interview. You request the meeting, and use it as a way to gain information on a career path. You do not talk about hiring or a specific job. It can help you decide which field to choose, or teach you how you can advance and ultimately succeed in it.

For example, imagine that Elizabeth Bennett is interested in working in public relations. She will need to search the Internet to find all of the PR firms in her area. She will conduct extensive research, then call each company to ask for the contact information for each of their top executives. She will then ask each of them for an informational interview.

The ideal individual that you should contact is someone who is at an advanced level in his or her career. This could be the president or chief executive of a company. The conversation should be highly focused, and you can ask specific questions about the company or the industry in general. They usually take about 20-30 minutes, but they can last as long as the two of you need. You do not want to rush this conversation, because it can be crucial to your success in their industry. While you are gaining information on their career path, they are gaining information about your personality. This conversation may shape their perception of you, and it will give them insight on your professional character. They can use this knowledge to see if you would be a good match for their company or another one that they have a connection with.

Why Should I Do Them?

There are many advantages to informational interviews. They are great for meeting new people who can provide you valuable insight into their career. This will give you more confidence, as you will feel better prepared for any upcoming challenges. You will likely leave with a better understand about a particular job, and you can use this information to see if it is something you want to pursue. You can refine your career, and learn what steps you need to take.

Beyond the information that you will receive, you may also get valuable feedback and criticism for your resume. The purpose of the meeting is not to get a job offer, but sometimes they are an exciting bonus. Studies have shown that one out of every 200-1,500 resumes results in a job offer. Contrastingly, one out of every 12 interviews results in a job offer. They are effective, which is why they are considered the best networking technique for any industry. Even if you are not offered a job from that specific company, it is possible that you may receive a referral. The key is to impress the individual with your personality, character, and knowledge so that they can see your strengths and desire to utilize them.

When Can I Do Them?

Almost anyone can do an informational interview because there is no age restriction or even appropriate age range. If you are in high school, it is a great way to learn about various careers and see what interests you. If you are in college, it is a unique way to get your name out there and learn more about your future career. If you are a college graduate, it may give you the tools that you need to break into your field. For experienced job seekers, it may allow you to explore possible career changes without making a commitment.

Your interview will be successful if the individual is able to provide you with the answers and facts that you need to either launch or boost your career. It will also be successful if you are able to make a positive and lasting impression. He or she may become a key advocate for you in the industry, so it is important to prepare for the meeting and find a way to showcase your values and strengths. Using this networking technique may give you confidence, advice, encouragement, and possibly a job. You should request a few informational interviews and reap all of the benefits that they may offer.

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