March 31st, 2010
The purpose of Informational interviewing is to obtain the necessary occupational information that you need in order for you to determine a career path. It gives you the chance to have a in-depth conversation with someone in the career field you are interested in and may just be able to provide you with just the right information you need to begin your career. Informational interviewing is not only beneficial because of what you can learn, but whom you can learn it from.
How can you decide on a profession if you don't know what it's actually like to work in one? Talking to someone face to face can tell you a lot more about a job than reading about it on the Internet. You will have the chance to get a glimpse of what it is like to work in a particular career from someone who is actually in it. When you conduct an informational interview, you will ask a professional questions about their educational history, former employment, work environment, and current position. The answers to these questions will help you determine if you have what it takes to succeed in a particular industry, and if you really want to. It can also be an eye opening experience that will teach you about the realities of the professional world and the trials and challenges associated with it. Most importantly, learning about what other people had to do to establish their careers will help you to put together a plan to do the same.
Conducting an informational interview is a great way to meet people in your field of interest as well as provide you with an excuse to network with them. Even though you may feel that you are pestering someone you are asking to meet with, you might actually be providing an excuse for them to talk about their favorite subject: themselves. And since you are also extremely interested in them, this is one time where it is not a bad thing. It is important to try to establish a good connection with someone you are interviewing because they can prove to be a valuable contact in the future. You never know when you might be in need of a professional's opinion or advice. Also, when it comes to job hunting, they might know of a good job opportunity or be able to refer you to someone who does.