Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Information Interviews: What they are, and Why Students Should Embrace Them

Interview Questions

Make sure your studies are leading to a career you feel passionate about.

January is here and you’re motivated to make this term count and prove that this education of yours is actually getting you somewhere.

It is, isn’t it?

If you’re still not sure that your studies are leading to work you feel passionate about, this would be a prime time to ask questions and gather some living proof that your chosen major really is the right choice for you- AKA information interviews.

Sure, maybe you’ve looked up statistics and read about job outcomes for grads of your program. But as much as you love your computer and all the information it can render, it’s important to balance your Facebook time with actual face-to-face interactions (breathe deeply now, you can do this).

Here’s some tips to make sure you ask the right questions

By speaking to professionals who are currently working in your field, you can get a sense of how they’ve built up their careers, where the entry level opportunities are, and what the long-term outlook is for the industry as a whole. Not only that, you’ll start to develop a network of people who may be able to help you jump into the workforce, once your own graduation day has passed.

Don’t know who to speak to? Start with the people you know: ask your family, your friends, your dentist – anyone who might know someone currently working in your field of interest. Hit a blank wall? Visit your campus career centre and ask about leads for information interviews. Chances are pretty good that they’ll be able to point you in the right direction.

Remember, in this interview, you’re not asking for a job

Once you’ve got some names in hand, it’s time to venture out there into the big bright world. Make a few (well-rehearsed) phone calls, and ask to make an appointment for a few minutes of their time. Let them know that you’re doing some career research (not job hunting), and that you’d appreciate any insights that they can give you. Put together a list of information interview questions that interest you, put on your best professional outfit, and away you go!

You’ll be amazed at how willing working professionals are to share insights on their own career paths, and how beneficial it can be to hear how others have moved from the postsecondary system into meaningful work.

Flo Follero-Pugh
Author: Flo Follero-Pugh
Flo Follero-Pugh has been working as a career counsellor for the past 10 years.
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