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Empowering Individuals to Achieve their Educational and Career Potential

A career consulting agency providing individuals and businesses with career counseling, education information,
resume writing, interviewing, job search strategies, and links to employment opportunities

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Interviewing for Information

THE BEST CAREER INFORMATION COMES FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE ACTIVE AND SUCCESSFUL AND KNOWLEDGEABLE IN YOUR FIELD OF INTEREST. INTERVIEW THEM!


Informational interviewing is an important part of the work search process. It can help a person more clearly define an objective; it is a practical way to develop interviewing skills; it is a useful way to build up a personal network of contacts. Though the informational interview is not meant directly to find you a specific work experience, an offer often occurs. Why? Simply because you have made yourself visible and impressed someone with your interest and your ability to seek information.

The suggestions, questions and sample phone call included here are guides to help persons begin to use the information interviewing technique.

Remember four things:

1. You are not asking for work. You are simply asking for information and advice, so you are not putting this person on the spot.
2. You have the right - - and a responsibility to yourself - - to seek advice and information from those who can best help you.
3. The most effective action you can take on your behalf is to develop mentors. Mentors are people, experts in the field of your choice, who take an interest in you and your professional development, advise you, help you along, and inform you of appropriate opportunities. You will also need to develop professional contacts -people in, or related to, your field - who help each other out by exchanging information about what's going on.
4. Because you are doing the interviewing, you are in charge. You prepare. You ask the questions. Your mentor can lean back and talk to her/his heart's content, and will - - if you listen well.

HOW DO I FIND OUT WHO THESE PEOPLE ARE? Ask. Ask this question (or one like it) of everyone you know and everyone you meet: "Do you know anyone who(is knowledgeable about, or is an expert in, or I can talk to about__________(field or occupation). The next question to ask is "Would you mind if I use your name?"

HOW CAN I CONDUCT THESE INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEWS MOST EFFECTIVELY, so that I get the information I need and also establish a good relationship with this person?
bullet PREPARE. Inform yourself about the field, the organization, and the person you will be interviewing
bullet PREPARE a list of the questions you want to ask, and some that you know will be interesting to answer.
bullet PRACTICE. Review THE PHONE Call sheet (below). Practice interviewing people for information whenever you get a chance to. It's fun. You'll find that people really like to talk about themselves and their work.
bullet EXPRESS interest, listen, show enthusiasm and appreciation.

Here's a sample phone call:
Hello...
My name is...
Mr./Ms./Mrs.....suggested I call you, because you're an expert in..... I'm interested in your field (or occupation), and have some questions I would like to ask you. I'm not looking for work now; I just want some information and advice. When could I come to talk to you? I'll just take a few minutes of your time (no more than 20 or 30).

Set time and place to meet with the expert.

Thank the expert.

SOME CLOSING WORDS OF ADVICE...
bullet Speak clearly enough to be understood easily over the phone.
bullet Call when there are no distractions like a radio or TV noise, or loud conversations in the background.
bullet Do not chew gum, or make other distracting sounds.
bullet Be friendly and sincere and really interested in meeting with the expert.

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