Career Resources

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Informational interviewing pays off

If there's one piece of advice I could give you at the start of the new year, it would be to make a resolution to do an informational interview. Yesterday, a woman who wants to break into the career counseling field contacted me to do one.  I was immediately and immensely impressed by her professionalism, her proactive approach and her sincerity.  After speaking with her for only 30 minutes, I knew that she was passionate about pursuing a career as a career counselor and I found myself wanting to do everything I could to help her succeed.

I have always been a strong advocate of students conducting informational interviews and this experience made me realize again just how impactful they can be.  As the interviewee, I felt honored that this person, just starting out in her career, was consulting with me and valued my opinions and insights.  At the end of our conversation, I found myself telling her to contact me anytime at all if she had any further questions.  And I meant it.  Because I was so impressed with her, I had no doubt that she would be one of the first people I contacted should there ever be a vacancy in my department.

I hope that this story is enough to convince you of the value of doing informational interviews.  If you do your homework, approach the informational interview in a professional manner and demonstrate your passion for pursuing a career in that field (this is key!), I'm sure that you will make an equally strong impression.  Your interiewee, no doubt, will be as flattered as I was that you are seeking out his or her advice.

And so I invite you to make a New Year's resolution to conduct at least one informational interview this year.  I can guarantee you that you will be glad you did.  Remember, too, that informational interviewing isn't just for those starting out in their careers.  It is an extremely valuable tool that can help anyone who is looking to switch jobs or switch careers.

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