Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Information (Interviewing) is Power

Television is superb for making nearly any job seem thrilling, fun, and easy, from being a doctor or a lawyer to a homebuilder or a nanny. However, talk to any physician or litigator or childcare worker and they will be the first to tell you that their jobs are not as romantic as you see on TV. A great way to learn more about a career field or an organization is an informational interview. Talking to a real professional in a certain field or organization can give you inside information to help you make more informed career choices, but there are steps that you have to take first:

  • Do your research: Investigate the field you are interested in to learn more about it. Career Transitions is a great place to start.

  • Create strong questions: In an informational interview, you are the “reporter” doing the interviewing. Create questions that delve deeper into what you have researched and make the precious time with your interviewee worthwhile. Questions more personal to the interviewee’s experience can be successful as well, providing more detail into the nature of the career or company you are researching. Try these examples:

    • What is your proudest accomplishment in your current position?
    • What was the best piece of advice you received that helped you become more successful?
    • What challenges in your current position do you enjoy the most?

  • Contact the right person: When you are ready, contact the person who you feel would best be able to answer your questions. You’ll obviously want to find someone who works in the career field or organization that you are targeting, but how? The best way to do this is to use your network and connect with someone you are interested in through a friend or family member (or even through the friend of a friend or family member). Be persistent in calling on your contacts; degrees of separation are small and they will most likely know someone with whom you can talk-. If you still aren’t finding success, another option would be to send a blind email to someone in that organization or role that you are targeting, but don’t be surprised if you do not hear back. Be honest and sincere in your email, and let them know that they are under no obligation to talk with you or even reply to your email. With the control in their hands and with “no strings attached,” they will be more inclined to speak with you.

Knowledge is power, as the saying goes, but knowledge is created through information. Use informational interviews to become a more focused and educated professional!

No comments:

Post a Comment