A few of our mentors are unable to take on a mentee this year, but they were gracious enough to offer their services if a student would like to contact them for an informational interview.
What is an informational interview?
Informational interviews are an excellent opportunity to learn as much as you can about various careers. It means meeting with people to ask for information - not a job – about a career. It helps you learn about job functions which fit your talents and evaluate organizations that could be a good match for you. Informational interviews will help you gain a good sense of real life experiences, challenges, opportunities, hidden demands, drawbacks and limitations of a career. These types of interviews are also a networking opportunity that allows you to discover the hidden job market – jobs not publicly advertised.
What are the benefits of Informational Interviewing?
- Gain first-hand, current information from professionals in the field(s) you are considering.
- Build your confidence and poise for later job interviews.
- Expand your knowledge of the job market in the field(s) you want to explore.
- Find out about job/career paths you did not know existed and the skills they require.
- Clarify what jobs are really like before you commit yourself.
- Shorten your job search time, find quality jobs, and target positions that best fit your particular mix of interests and skills.
- Learn about salary ranges, typical career paths, how specific organizations find new people, and which companies are hiring.
- Build support for your job search by expanding the number of people who can help you and provide you with “non-advertised” job leads.
How to Prepare for an Informational Interview:
- Research the company and industry beforehand. Don’t waste time asking questions that can be found in books, on the company web site or in an annual report.
- Review Career Center resources for background information on the industry/career field/job descriptions.
- Develop an opening statement or elevator pitch that gives a brief profile of who you are and your interest in the field.
- Be prepared to talk about why you are interested in their field of work and your strengths and skills.
- Prepare open-ended questions in advance to make sure the interview meets your objectives.