Informational Interviews: How They Can Help Your Career

If you’re looking to make a move in your career – to a completely different field – conducting informational interviews is a great first step. So what are informational interviews…and how can they help you? Here’s a look.

Informational interviews are simply interviews that you conduct with those who work in a field you’re interested in. Your purpose in conducting them isn’t to secure a job (though that may be a byproduct); it’s to learn more about an industry, a field or a certain kind of position. Conducting these types of interviews are helpful for a variety of reasons, including you can:

  • Learn valuable information and details about what it’s really like to work in a particular career field, industry or company.
  • Get advice and tips, and find out about lessons and obstacles, from people in the know.
  • Hone your interviewing skills, which you will need regardless of the field you decide to pursue.

Clearly, if you’re happy in the field you work in and just want to switch companies, you don’t need to conduct informational interviews. However, if you’re looking to break into a new career field or industry, or you just graduated from school and are searching for your first job, then informational interviews are a great way to gain the insight you need. Here’s how to schedule one:

Determine the people you’d like to connect with. Perhaps you already know someone who has your dream job, or an individual who works at a company you’re dying to break into. Those are the kinds of people you will want to connect with. If not, though, ask family, friends and your alumni network for referrals. Also, look online to social networking sites like LinkedIn to find individuals with jobs you’re interested in.

Once you have a list of individuals, send each an email inquiring about whether they’d be willing to help you gain some insight into their career field through an interview. Highlight your background, where you’d like to go in your career, and what you hope to gain from them. Let them know it will only take about 30 minutes and that you’ll meet with them at their convenience.

When you do schedule an interview, make sure you prepare your questions ahead of time. If you just wing it, you won’t wind up getting the information you need. Some idea starters for questions include:

  • Why did you choose this field to work in?
  • How did you get your first job in the field?
  • What do you like best about working in it?
  • What do you like least?
  • What surprised you most about it?
  • What have been your biggest career obstacles?
  • What advice would you give someone trying to break into the field?
  • What skills and education are most important for securing a job in the field?

Finally, once you’ve completed your informational interview, be sure to send a thank you note within a few days to the person you interviewed. Let them know how much you appreciate their time and perspective.

And if you need more help finding a job that’s the right match for you, call Murray Resources. As one of the leading recruiting agencies in Houston, we can assist you with the entire job search process – from crafting a strong resume to preparing for interviews to finding job opportunities that are a great fit for your skills and background.

Ready to get started? Contact us today.