Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

Advising Advice: Informational interviewing

Posted on April 16, 2018 in Perspectives
By USM Free Press

By Norrie Crocker, Career Advisor

 

Whether you have a solid sense of your career path or your path is not fully focused, informational interviewing is a wonderful career exploration tool! You have career advisors in the Career & Employment Hub who are waiting for you to come and ask questions about this beneficial exploration experience.

An informational interview is an informal conversation with someone working in an area that interests you. Some of the benefits of that conversation include:

  • Firsthand, relevant information
  • Learning about career paths you did not know existed
  • Getting tips about how to prepare for and enter a given career
  • Initiating a professional relationship to expand your network of contacts

How should you start the process? First, connect with the Career & Employment Hub to set up an appointment with one of our Career Advisors. During that meeting we will work with you to determine what you would like to gain from informational interviews.  

Here are the six steps we will guide you through. For each step, we will work with you to provide ideas, resources, contacts, and practice asking questions:

  1. Research your career field and/or employers in that field
  2. Identify people to interview
  3. Prepare for an informational interview
  4. Initiate contact
  5. Conduct the interview
  6. Provide follow-up actions

Some questions you may use during the interview are:

  • I am considering a career as a (fill in the blank); what does that job entail?
  • When is graduate school necessary in the field of (fill in the blank)?
  • What is the work environment in the (fill in the blank) industry like?
  • How do I break into the (fill in the blank) field?
  • I am ready for a career change; who can I talk with about my new career ideas?
  • I want to talk with someone who is a (fill in the blank); how can I do that?

Who benefits from your informational interview journey besides yourself? Your professional and faculty advisors will like to hear what you have learned as it relates to decisions you make about courses. Your increased knowledge about your chosen field will interest your professors. Your friends, family and fellow students will also learn from you; and hopefully, see how informational interviewing can benefit them, as well.

It is never too early to begin working on informational interviewing. The more you know, the better able you are to make decisions that really work for you! Come see us on the Portland Campus in 140 Luther Bonney Hall. We are also in Study Room 2 of the Gorham Library on Tuesdays from 1 to 4 p.m. and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. For students on the Lewiston Auburn Campus please contact us at usmcareer@maine.edu or 207-228-8091.

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