WHAT ARE INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEWS AND HOW CAN THEY HELP ME IN MY JOB SEARCH?
An informational interview is an information gathering session you initiate with a current professional in the career, industry or company you are considering. These interviews can help you obtain a realistic perspective about the field and give you insight into the qualifications needed for the job, enabling you to evaluate whether it is compatible with your skills, interests and goals. Informational interviews can also expand your network of contacts in your field of interest for future opportunities.
HOW TO FIND PEOPLE TO INTERVIEW
People are usually very willing to talk to you! The easiest way to begin this process is to start with someone you know, or someone a friend, relative or professor knows. Below are other places to find names for interviews:
- Former Bosses
- Company Websites
- Professional Associations
- Service Organizations
- College Career Offices
- Alumni Groups
HOW DO I ASK FOR AN INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEW?
Hello, my name is ___________. I am currently a Master of Social Work student at the Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service. As you may know, the field of social work provides me with dozens of fields I can pursue when I graduate. I am in the process of exploring certain careet options so that when I graduate, I will have a better idea of what areas I would like to pursue. I believe you would be a great person to discuss _____________ (concentration, job field of position). I would love an opportunity to schedule a brief meeting to find out how you got started and to find out more about _____________ (concentration, particular industry, job field, job type and/or organization). Please let me know if your schedule permits for us to meet in person. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you.
WHAT DO I ASK AT AN INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEW?
- Where did you get your first job in social work?
- What is a typical day for you in your job?
- What are the five most important skills or traits for a person going into this field to have?
- What impresses you in a resume from someone who is applying for a career in this field?
- What part of the job is most satisfying?
- What part of the job is most challenging?
- What emerging trends do you see affecting your job in the next five years?
- What do you know now about social work that you wish you had known when you began? Is there anything that would have made it easier for you if you had known?
- If you were trying to make more money in the field, where would you go?
SHOULD I BRING MY RESUME TO AN INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEW?
Yes. It may be appropriate to bring your resume to the informational interview. This is NOT to apply for a job, but in case you want to request feedback about your resume. You could also ask the person to pass it along to others if appropriate. Another option is to send your resume along with your than-you note after the interview. (You can say something like, "I've included my resume in case opportunities come up in the future.") Tailor your resume to the specific company as much as possible.
TIPS FOR THE INTERVIEW
- After the interview, send a thank-you note. Do this within 24 to 48 hours of meeting.
- Be flexible. Work around your contact's busy schedule when arranging a date and a time to meet.
- Research the occupation/organization ahead of time, so you can develop thoughtful questions.
- Dress professionally. Formal clothes aren't necessary (like suit, tie, dress), but avoid jeans, shorts, etc.
- Arrive 5 to 10 minutes early.
- Bring a list of questions you want to ask and a note pad to take notes.
- Ask for additional names of people you can contact, and ask if you can use this contact as a referral.
- Before you leave, be sure to ask for the person's business card, so you can have accurate name, title and address information.