When I was in college, I had NO idea of HOW to get the job I had my sights upon. Studying for a job vs. having to find related job to my major wasn't utmost in my head. I had so many thoughts in my head--what classes I needed, how I was going to pay for my books (financial aid wasn't enough)--to give a thought about job hunting. That was until I stumbled upon the Informational Interview!
Unlike a traditional interview, an informational interview is much less formal (yet still professional) and the goal is to gather information from the person or persons you are interviewing. Informational interviews are not a way to ask for a job but to ask the 'expert', who currently holds the position, about their education training, and career path.
But how do you ask for an informational interview?
Just ask for one! No, really. That's it. But remember, you need to know how to ask and who to ask. This is where your creative juices start flowing. Who do you know that can help you? Friends? Relatives? Someone you know MUST know someone who can help you with setting up the interview. Better yet, if you have a network of professional contacts, this group of contacts are an excellent place to start.
But what if you don't have professional contacts?
You need to start somewhere? That's where LinkedIn comes in! If you haven't looked at LinkedIn or don't know what LinkedIn can do for your career, you need to spend some time on that site. Spend the time to create a professional profile, start networking, and start engaging with others.
- Informational interviews can help you in many ways:
- improve your communication skills
- gain confidence
- expand your professional network
- learn more about your career choice
- learn more about yourself (if you are cut out for the job you want)
- learn from others--failures, successes, what works, what doesn't
Continue to learn about your career.