The informational interview process begins by selecting a specific occupation. This video walks you through a step-by-step process which will lead you to success.
- When you have the opportunity to walk in someone else's shoes during a job search, you have a better chance of finding the career that's right for you. This is exactly what happens when you schedule informational interviews in a specific occupation. There's no better person to talk to than someone who is working in the job you've targeted. The inside information they share can't be found anywhere else. So start with your goals. Make a list of what you want to do, the type of company you'd like to work for, and where you'd like to live.
And, the compensation package you'd like to receive. This is the first step, so take the time to do the research, and put some real thought into it. As you go through the process, you'll refine the list, but you need to start somewhere, and a clear set of goals will help you move in the right direction. After you conduct your research, you may decide to pursue more than one specific occupation. My suggestion is for you to focus on one occupation first, compiling your research and scheduling informational interviews, and then move on to your second choice.
The information you gain from your informational interviews might also cause you to rethink the specific occupation you are targeting. I knew a single mom named Rachel who was selling real estate, but wanted to do something else that provided a guaranteed salary, and benefits for herself. Rachel decided she wanted to work for a major hotel in the sales or catering department. She had a communication degree, and planned to take online hospitality courses at night.
Rachel conducted five informational interviews with sales and catering managers, and was shocked to learn everyone worked 50 plus hours a week, and because hotels never close, the schedule included evenings, weekends, and holidays. As a result, Rachel changed her occupation and industry goals, because with three small daughters, there was no way she could work the hours the job required. The time and effort Rachel spent on informational interviews really paid off.
It helped to see the challenges she'd had faced, and gave her the chance to change direction before getting too heavily invested in the wrong career. Every occupation and industry has its strengths and vulnerabilities, and it's critical that you're aware of these ahead of time. Informational interviews present a chance for you to get insider knowledge that will help you make career choices that are best for you.
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- Informational interview vs. job interview
- Selecting a specific occupation
- Identifying appropriate companies and contacts
- Scheduling an informational interview
- Preparing and researching before an interview
- Updating your résumé
- Asking good questions
- Listening and taking notes
- Following up
- Contacting referrals
- Building your network