Information Interviews – Part Two

You should dress in a professional way when you meet someone to talk about their job.

For women a pantsuit would be appropriate or a skirted suit. Or other modern not casual attire.

For men this would be a suit. Or other modern attire that is not casual either.

Bring a smart portfolio with a notepad inside to take notes. Tells the person you’d like to take notes.

Show up on time. Even though it’s not an actual interview.  You can show up 10 minutes early not any earlier.

Figure out beforehand the best transit route to get there.

Ideally, you’ll meet others in person for the purpose of getting an information interview.

Yet regardless of whether you meet in person or simply get the OK to send them your questions via e-mail other options exist:

You can chat with them via FaceTime or Skype or other video chat device.

Again, dress sharp even if you’re at home at your desk Skyping with this person. Remove the clutter from your background.

You can practice or role play conducting the interview with a friend or other peer or therapist.

I’ll end here with this: it’s possible to obtain just enough detailed information about a job or career or particular business from Internet and LinkedIn research.

Think like a businessperson. Seek out information about new jobs and careers coming up on the horizon. Jobs exist today that were unheard of 10 years ago.

And remember: to enjoy yourself as you navigate the process of looking for work.

Conducting an Information Interview

Yes–when I was in college and took a Career Preparation course I had to conduct an information interview with a person in a possible career.

I interviewed the Personnel Director of Gerber’s a long-defunct clothing store where I lived. It was in business in the 1980s.

Conducting an information interview is like speed-dating: the the quicker version of doing an internship or working at an actual job.

In a short amount of time you sit down with a person who works at the kind of job you’re interested in getting.

Only you’re not applying for the job. You’re asking this person pertinent questions about the field they’re employed in so that you can better assess whether you might like to have that kind of job or career. Or whether it would be a great next step to get an internship in this field.

How would you go about finding a person to interview? You might have a Facebook friend working in this job. Or simply by posting a request on Facebook you might find a person who is or who knows of someone who is employed at this job.

You can also scroll through your LinkedIn connections–an even better way to find people. You can joined LinkedIn groups in different fields too. Then you can assertively yet politely ask the members of that group if anyone is available for an information interview.

Be cordial and confident in requesting this help. Frame it in terms of talking to them for say 20 minutes or a half hour. This kind of interview should be shorter. It should be at the other person’s discretion if they want to extend your interview any longer.

The best way to frame your request if you ask me is to flatter the person you’re requesting this help from. Having read an article they published or having heard in the news about something they did can be your introduction.

Though hundreds of other people will have read or heard this too you can stand out by remembering to request only 20 minutes to a half hour of their time.

Be positive and proactive in how you request that a person give you an information interview. You might introduce yourself by giving a selling point about yourself that makes you stand out from others who would request this person’s time too.

Remember this dictum: WIIFM: What’s In It For Me. That’s what another person wants to know when you or I come calling with a request for their time, money, expertise or whatever we want to get from them.

I’ll end here with some possible questions to ask when you conduct an information interview:

First: do not ask a question you can find the answer to by Googling it.

A short list of questions:

What do you like and dislike about your particular job?

Were there any courses in college that you took that better prepared you once you got the actual job?

What personality traits or productive habits would help a person succeed in this job or career?

What is it like on a typical day to work at this job?

What kinds of skills, traits, and background would benefit the kind of employer you work for?

Would there be other jobs similar to your job in this field that might be worth exploring? Can you name one or two?

Any parting words of advice or ideas about working at a job like this or in this field?

Then of course:

Thank them for their time.

That’s it: 7 questions.

And remember to send an e-mail or a handwritten letter via postal mail thanking the person for taking the time out of their busy schedule to meet with you. Within 24 hours.

The fact is: a job you read about or get tested out as possibly being suitable might not appeal to you once you’ve heard about it from a person who has that job or career.

It’s called gathering facts then using your intuition to judge the best first course of action.

I’ll end here by saying that sometimes you just have to work at an actual job to rule out or confirm whether you like it. If so keep in mind what I wrote in the prior blog entries.

You can always click on the Careers category in the cloud to read the blog entries on this topic.


Career Pathfinder Options

It’s possible to find your right-fit career without wasting undue time in a series of jobs that aren’t right for you.

This is where taking into consideration what I’ve written could give you ideas. The career databases talked about in the last blog entry might help.

The tip about the numerology chart I don’t give lightly or out of the blue. When you resist doing what you’re called to do in this particular lifetime: you can have added stress, not be effective at your job, and be far from happy with how your life is.

It turned out that I couldn’t and wouldn’t be successful in a buttoned-up corporate office. I needed to have a job where I could be creative and where I could call the shots.

How can you figure out what jobs to rule out or pass on? I say: it comes down to your personality.

Taking a long hard look at your past failures if you’ve had any will give you an idea. Thinking about a job you had that you particularly liked will help too.

If you haven’t had a job before perhaps the information I’ve given in these blog entries can help you narrow down your first career avenue to go down.

Your first job might not be ideal. Yet it can give you the skills, experience, and knowledge to use as the springboard for finding your next job.

I recommend working in a public library for those of us loathe to wear a suit and tie or a skirted suit to our jobs.

If a person isn’t temperamentally suited to work in an office tons of other careers exist.

In the next blog entry I’ll talk in detail about doing an information interview with people who are already employed.

It’s a good way to find out about various careers.