Fall recruiting is in full swing right now in the United States. Maybe you are a current senior worried about where your next chapter will take place; or maybe you are a sophomore or junior in college looking for an internship next summer. Wherever you are in your journey, a great way to get some more information and reassurance on your job/internship hunt is to reach out to someone who works in a field you might be interested in and pick their brain. This is called an informational interview.
An informational interview is an informal conversation you can have with someone working in an area of interest to you. It is an effective research tool and is best done after preliminary online research. It is not a job interview, and the objective is not to find job openings. This might be a little uncomfortable for some, but most people really enjoy reflecting on their professional life and giving advice to the future of talent!
During my junior year of school, I was really interested in working in athletics, so I reached out to someone working in Professional Development for Collegiate Athletics at Wake Forest University. Overall, the conversation went great! I learned a lot and still have the notes I took from my meeting.
Informational Interviews can also give you the opportunity to:
- Get firsthand, relevant information about the realities of working within a certain field or industry.
- Get tips and insider knowledge about how to prepare for and land your first job/internship.
- Learn what it’s like to work at a specific company/organization.
- Expand your network of contacts in a specific career field
Here are a few questions I recommend asking in the session:
- What has been your career path journey?
- What is a typical day like for you?
- Any steps you recommend I take to break into the field? Certifications, trainings, etc.
- What skills, abilities, and personal attributes are essential to success in your job/this field?
Have you gone on any informational interviews? Share your experience in the comments.