Informational Interview Links Informational Interviewing An integral part of networking. This is a good how-to article.
How to Do Informational Interviewing Concise description and how-to for informationally interviewing for results. From the award-winning Wisconsin Job Service folks.
Interview Cheat Sheet From CareerLab. Simple but effective. A worksheet for you to use before an interview.
Discussion Topics to Consider During Informational Interviews
The UCSB Alumni Association's Career Connections program is a way for students and alumni to gain information and insight to assist in making career decisions. UCSB alumni from a wide variety of professions have volunteered to share their experiences and welcome your phone call. It is important to note that this is an opportunity to gather information and begin making contacts -- it is not a job or internship service. When you do decide to go job hunting, having established your Gaucho network will help.
The networking contacts provided may not always be in geographic proximity to you, but these alumni may be able to provide you more contacts through their networks. Also, it is important to interview more than one person as opinions and information could be biased.Why Explore?
Career Connections is designed to provide you an opportunity to explore various career options prior to making a final career decision. An informational interview can help you overcome four common obstacles
- You may lack knowledge about a career field. Informational interviewing allows you to learn more about the job titles, duties, and personality traits of people in the industry.
- You may feel that you lack relevant work experience to achieve your goals. Informational interviews can provide an opportunity to ask specific questions about education and experience needed to pursue this career. Also, a working knowledge about an organization's mission and structure can sometimes compensate for lack of experience.
- In many fields, few jobs are ever openly advertised. A job hunter may not come into contact with these jobs if he/she does not know where to look. Some employment specialists estimate that only one job in six is advertised in a classified ad, personnel office or on a placement office bulletin board. The rest are "discovered" and filled through word-of-mouth between professional colleagues. Informational interviewing can help you develop contacts among influential people who might provide assistance when you begin your job hunt.
- Most job hunters ask only personnel representatives and receptionists for information about job opportunities. Very often these individuals do not know about the total range of jobs available, the feasibility of non-traditional jobs or the existence of jobs that are not advertised. Informational interviewing allows you to get this information from people who do have it -- people performing the kind of jobs in which you are interested, or their immediate supervisors.
Phone the alumnus/a to schedule a phone appointment or a mutually convenient place and time to meet. It is best if you can visit the alumnus/a at his or her place of business during regular business hours so you can see the work environment.
When telephoning the contact for the first time, introduce yourself as a UCSB alumnus/a or student participating in the Career Connections program. If leaving a message, indicate the purpose of your call since alumni are often involved with other UCSB programs. Your conversation could begin as follows: "My name is Gary Gaucho and I am a student/alumnus from UCSB. I received your contact information from the UCSB Alumni Association's Career Connections program, and I am interested in speaking and/or meeting with you to learn more about your job and career."
Do not become discouraged if your alumnus/a asks that you contact him or her at a later date because they are busy at the time of your initial call. Follow up with your phone calls.
- Collect background information on the career field. Your meeting will be more productive if you have some basic knowledge of the field.
- If meeting in person, wear business attire as you would for an interview (e.g., suit, tie, dress, etc.). This will not only prepare you for job interviews but will also leave a favorable impression on a potential contact.
- Have a pen and notepad to make notes of pertinent information.
- Review the questions on the back of this sheet and and note the ones which are the most important for you to obtain answers.
- It is not necessary to take a resume with you. Do not feel you need to make a resume for the occasion since the purpose of the program is for information only.
- Please inform the UCSB Alumni Association if the information on your contact sheets is incorrect or you have problems with any visitations. Your feedback is important.
Remember, you are seeking information which will help you understand the realities of working in a particular field. You will be doing the interviewing. Here are some questions you may want to ask
- How do you describe your job?
- What do you do on a typical day?
- What kinds of problems do you face?
- What kinds of decisions do you make?
- Your time at work
- What are the most important personal satisfactions and dissatisfactions connected with your occupation?
- What part of the job do you consider dull or repetitious?
- What percentage of your time do you devote to your job?
- How do you manage work and personal life
- What social obligations go along with a position in your occupation?
- Are there professional organizations that you are expected to join?
- Are there other things in which you are expected to participate outside of work hours?
- Do you consistently work overtime, on the weekends, or take work home?
- Job Preferences
- What types of jobs did you hold before entering this occupation?
- How did these jobs prepare you for your current position?
- What did you like best and least about your previous jobs?
- Awareness of your job field
- What types of changes are occurring in your occupation?
- Is there a demand for people in this field?
- Do you view this field as a growing one?
- Advancement Opportunities
- How does a person advance in your field?
- If any, what are the advancement opportunities?
- What is the best way to enter this occupation?
- What are the major qualifications for success in this particular occupation?
- How long does it usually take to move from one step to the next in this career path?
- What is the top job you can attain in this field?
- What are the prerequisites for employment in the field?
- What entry level jobs qualify or prepare one for this field?
- What training do companies give to persons entering this field?
- What are the salary ranges for various levels in this field?
- Networking and Information
- Could you suggest other people with whom I could speak in this field or in related fields?
- May I read job descriptions and specifications for some of the positions in this field?
- Keep records of your meetings. You may want to evaluate what you have learned and organize the names and addresses of new contacts. These may prove helpful when you actually begin your job search.
- Send thank you notes! These should be sent promptly to each person with whom you spoke at any length. A few lines can indicate your appreciation of his or her time and the value you derived from the interview. This courtesy can also help you to be remembered.
- If you establish a positive relationship, you may want to re-contact these individuals periodically. Tell them the results of your visits with the people they recommended you contact. If you find articles in newspapers, magazines or journals which might be of interest to an individual whom you have interviewed, send along copies. If you keep in touch with these people and remind them of your interest in their field, they might share with you additional information as they get it.
Career Connections is a program of the UCSB Alumni Association. It is free to current UCSB students and members of the UCSB Alumni Association. There is a $5 charge to process information for non-members. Alumni and students may phone the UCSB Alumni Association for contacts. Students may also access the program by visiting UCSB Career Services in the Career Service Building 599. For more information about this or other UCSB Alumni Association programs phone 805-893-4611 or email firstname.lastname@example.org