Get to Work! – Career Counseling Series Part VI: The Informational Interview

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Welcome back! We have made it through the first 6 steps of the Career and Blog Counseling Series in honor of Counseling Awareness month. April ended but the series must go on!

Defining Success
Career Goal Setting
Creating a Plan
Career Research
Resume Writing
Cover Letter Writing
Informational Interviews
Professionalism
Interviewing

Get to Work! – Career Counseling Series Part VI: The Informational Interview

Why do an informational interview?

  • Gain first hand knowledge from a professional
  • Make connections/Network
  • Obtain information about various opportunities
  • Practice discussing your interest and skills in a more relaxed situation

3 Types of Informational Interviews

  • Face to face
    • The best because you will get to practice discussing your skills and abilities in person and you may be able to get  a feel for the work environment first hand
  • Phone
    • Good because you still get to speak to someonephone pic
  • E-mail
    • While this is acceptable it may make it harder to form and maintain a personal connection, you won’t get a feel for the environment,  and you may not have the opportunity for follow-up questions
    • Bloggers: Obviously, e-mail informational interviewing is perfectly acceptable for you!

YOU ARE NOT ASKING FOR JOB!

Getting the Informational Interview

1. Research the Company/Organization

Check out their website and any materials you may have.
This will make you look good! It will also help you create meaningful and thoughtful questions. Bloggers: This is especially important when trying to decide what brands to work with/contact. It is crucial to make sure you work with brands that share your values.

2. Initial phone call to ask for the interview

Have a calendar and some dates in mind. Be prepared to explain why you want this interview.

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Try to see if you can get a face to face meeting but if the individual is hesitant/busy schedule a phone interview.

3. Create Interview Questions

Do this before the interview so you can review the questions and be thorough.

The Interview

1. Dress Professionally
  • Nothing low cut.
  • No jeans or sneakers (this applies to most situations. If you are interviewing in a more casual profession it might be a little different. But it is always better to err on the side of caution)
  • Ladies, when it comes to make-up…less is more. Trust me. I have done a lot of interviews. When you leave the room you don’t want the first thing the interviewers to say to each other to be…”Wow, she wore a lot of make-up.”
  • Make sure your outfit matches
2. Arrive on time
  • 5 minutes early is on time
  • 20 minutes is too early
  • On time is late
3. Bring your questions
  • Be Prepared to be the lead in this interview! You asked for the interview to learn more. You are going to be asking the questions…be prepared!
4. Bring a pad/pen to take notes and be sure to ask permission to write or tape record before you begin
5. Maintain eye contact
6. Be a good listener
  • Don’t interrupt
  • Ask follow up questions
  • Minimize distractions
After the Interview
Send a Thank You card/e-mail. In this day and age everything is done electronically and many people expect instant follow-up. You may want to send a brief e-mail thank you followed by a brief thank you note in the mail. I feel that if you have had any communication with the person via e-mail then an e-mail thank you is just fine.
Stay tuned for the next part in the series…Professional Communication. You will get a kick out of some the sample e-mails I can share with you!
Have you ever done an informational interview?
career counseling series200x200 Counseling Awareness
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2 thoughts on “Get to Work! – Career Counseling Series Part VI: The Informational Interview

  1. Pingback: Get to Work! – Career Counseling Series Part VII: Professional Communication | Hoppy Bottoms

  2. Pingback: Get to Work! – Career Counseling Series Part VIII: Professional Communication | Hoppy Bottoms

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