Monday, June 8, 2009

The Underutilized Job Search Tool: The Informational Interview - Part 1

An Informational Interview is an interview that you schedule and hold with a person who is currently working or has worked in an industry, company, or career you are considering. The purpose is to gather critical information from an insider’s point of view.

Goals of an Informational Interview

People are generally interested and open to talking about what they know and what they do. Most people also like to help others succeed.

Valuable information can be gathered through an informational interview regardless of what you are trying to determine.

• College to attend or major to declare
In some industries, degrees and training from specific colleges are held in higher esteem than from others colleges and some majors can translate into a multitude of industries and careers.

• Job to pursue
By getting inside information about the realities of a career, you are better able to determine if the job suits your interests, skills, abilities, interests, and personality.

• Industry and company to target
There are many industries and companies who can use your skills. Ask about the viability of an industry, recent trends, and company culture. Although you may qualify for a position and need a job, you do not want to go into a dysfunctional organization (at least not without knowing it ahead of time) or an industry that is about to become obsolete. You can also obtain information about a manager’s managerial style.

• Skills to highlight in your job interview and in your resume
When companies have open positions, it is because they have specific needs. Knowing what their needs are will help you target your resume and interview to their needs. An informational interview allows you access to this information. In addition, some professionals are open to critiquing your resume for the necessary skills and key words.

• Referrals to other people to interview
Informational interviews are beneficial in identifying various careers within an industry, getting job titles, job descriptions, list of skills and experience requirements, and the names of companies that hire that position. Side benefits of the informational interview are that you strengthen your interviewing skills by learning to identify contacts, requesting and setting appointments, interviewing, and following through. You will also increase your network of contacts.

Next Week:
You will not want to miss Part 2 of this two part series where you will discover the very important rules of engagement and see sample questions to ask.

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