What’s an informational interview? It is setting up a time to speak to someone in your chosen field, so that you may learn what it is really like to work in that field, and learn about possible career opportunities.
There are many ways to "land" an informational interview. You might begin by speaking to someone in your social circle who already has a foot in the door. You could scan online for companies that appeal to you, and then ask if you can schedule an informational interview with someone in their office. You could even suggest one with a family member who works in a position or with a company that appeals to you.
Why would you want an interview that isn’t attached to an immediate job opening?
1. Informational interviews allow you to test the waters.
They’re a great way to find out what your possible ideal career path will be like, before you actually make a change. Talk to someone who knows, who’s been there. Find out if it’s really a fit before you jump in. If you’re just starting out in a field (recent college grad or someone in career transition) you’ll find that the informational interview offers you the inside perspective you’ve always wanted.
2. Informational interviews present a great networking opportunity.
It’s important to get out there and be noticed for your talent. Sure, there may not be an opening right now, but if you make a good impression today, someone might think of you for a position that opens up in the future. Right now, you’re just feeling around for information… but a future job offer would be a nice bonus! And this can happen from an informational interview.
3. Informational interviews make for a good "practice run."
They’re not a "real" interview and you’re not here to land a job – so the pressure’s off! And, they’re an excellent way to get some practice in for the real thing. This is your chance to ask questions about the company and the industry, so fire away! And of course, be sure to share your experience and training so they know to keep you in mind for the future. Stay tuned for tips on handling your informational interviews in upcoming Career Corner posts…