Updated: Jun 3
Source: (Informational Interviewing. The University of Chicago. https://voices.uchicago.edu/ssdmacareers/career-exploration/informational-interviewing/)
What are they?
According to The University of Chicago, an informational interview is a brief, informal conversation with someone working in a career pathway, organization or industry that interests you who is willing to give you information and advice. Informational interviewing is an effective research tool to acquire a lot of information in a short period of time, in addition to reading books, exploring the internet and examining job descriptions.
Informational interviewing can be helpful for individuals looking to enter a career path but don’t know what to expect. This can help them broaden their view and shape their understanding of that field from an insider’s perspective. Aside from researching, there’s nothing more reliable than seeking for genuine and real life advice in terms of career choices and how it played out for certain individuals who have had a lengthy experience in various industries.
An informational interview is NOT a job interview! The purpose of an informational interview is not to get or ask for a job, but an opportunity to leverage your newfound insights when searching for employment opportunities.
How are they helpful?
Informational interviewing may be more helpful than researching itself. Researching can only take you far to a certain degree of knowledge and information, whereas informational interviewing would give you a comprehensive guide on the advantages and disadvantages, what to expect and real life stories regarding your field. Researching, along with informational interviewing, should be done simultaneously whilst creating a concrete plan for the journey of your chosen career path.
Who do you approach?
Every individual with different levels of experience should be considered when deciding who to approach. Rookies, in comparison to highly experienced veterans may not only have different, but updated ways of getting a foot in the door. Given today’s changing times, some things may have worked differently back in the day compared to today’s advanced resources. Being a part of today’s technically-savvy culture certainly has its advantages!
Furthermore, there’s nothing more valuable than heeding advice from experienced veterans who have made their careers in the industry. Great stories about how things were done previously will always be welcomed knowledge. Knowing not only the industry you belong in, but also the business side of things in that industry must also be discovered if you’re looking for longevity for your career.
Where do I start?
A good first step would be to review your own personal network and valued connections. Examine your LinkedIn network for existing contacts and opportunities to connect with individuals with career paths that interest you. Be friendly, clear and professional about your intentions for connecting with them. Noticing that your contact list is looking a little sparse? That could mean that it’s time to ramp up your networking skills (an entirely different skillset!). Although you may feel intimidated when reviewing these strategies, you don’t have to do this alone. For more information on career guidance and success strategies, visit https://www.vocationalquest.com/career-guidance
Understanding the importance of informational interviewing is one of the first steps in choosing a career. Through researching, preparing and understanding career advantages will only give you the idea if you’re up for the job. Seeking advice from people in the industry with different experience levels from rookies to veterans will give you different perspectives. If you’re hesitant with your chosen career path or if you aren’t really positive if you want to pursue a certain field, informational interviewing will definitely help you make that decision.
At Vocational Quest Inc., we wish you all the best in your continued quest to find success in whatever field you choose to follow. We will be here every step of the way to guide you and help you grow.