Informational interviews help with choosing a certificate or degree
An informational interview is like that. It is a quick casual interview with a professional to help you gather information about potential careers that interest you. It can help you make informed decisions about which certificate to choose as you identify the skills you want to learn.President Russell M. Nelson said, “Good inspiration is based upon good information.”
1. Find someone to interview
Don’t let this step intimidate you! It can be scary putting yourself out there, but you will discover people all around you willing to help. The key is to reach out to others and access the power of your networks.
- Talk to family and friends about your career interests and see if they know someone with a similar career path that you can talk to.
- Utilize LinkedIn or similar networking platforms to finding common connections, those with a similar path you hope to follow, or someone with an interesting path. It’s okay to reach out, in a professional way, to people you don’t know.
- Search according to your interests. It’s easier to find and talk to someone when you’re both passionate about the subject.
2. Initiate contact
Send a message to the person you want to interview over email, LinkedIn, or a similar platform. Be brief, clear, and specific about your intentions. If you don’t receive a response back, don’t give up. Send a friendly follow-up message.
My name is Joseph, and I’m a computer engineer currently trying to further my education. I’m thinking about pursuing a certificate or degree in business management. After chatting with my supervisor, Ruth Clarke, she recommended I speak with you. I’m curious about how you were able to successfully blend your love of technology into a productive and meaningful business. I would love to learn more about your work and which skills you’ve used the most as you’ve built your business.
I want to be respectful of your time, but would you be available for an informational interview on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. or Thursday at 3:00 p.m.? Let me know if you can meet on one of those days or if there’s a better time for you.
Thank you for your time,
3. Come prepared
Nothing gives you more credibility than coming prepared. Learn what you can about the individual, their profession, and their industry. In addition, prepare questions to ask during the interview and consider sending the questions in advance so the person has time to prepare. This will help you lead the conversation and be respective of their time. Here are some
Asking good questions leads to good information.
4. During the interview
As you interview them, be curious and passionate about what they have to say. Ask follow-up questions and be engaged. Share a little about you but mainly focus the conversation on them. Lastly, be respectful by being courteous, kind, and conscious of their time. This may only be an informational interview, but it could lead to further opportunities down the road.
5. Build a connection
Use the interview as a way to build meaningful connections. At the end of the interview, ask for recommendations for people to talk to next. They can lead you to additional people who can help.After the interview, be sure to send a thank you note, expressing your gratitude for their time and the experiences they shared.
What would you ask in an informational interview? Share below!
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