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Informational Interviews An informational interview is not an interview for a job, but rather, a way of getting valuable information about your field(s) of interest. Of course, savvy job hunters have always used informational interviewing as a way of networking with potential employers. Informational interviewing can help you choose a major or industry, and make connections with people in your field. This type of interviewing may be done in person, by phone, or even by email.

Steps For a Successful Networking Contact 1. Be clear about your objective before you call your contact. Decide what you want to know and rehearse what you will say. 2. Explain why you are calling; be polite, positive, and professional. 3. Be flexible: Prepare to conduct the interview when you call, understanding that whomever you call may be busy and may want to schedule a time to talk with you. Remember to keep your interview to 30 minutes as a courtesy. 4. Try to schedule a face-to-face meeting whenever possible to gain exposure to the work environment and culture. 5. Ask your contact to recommend others you might speak to in your specific field or industry. 6. Ask your contact to keep you in mind should they hear of any positions or prospects. 7. Send a thank you note after your call or visit. If appropriate, include your phone number and/or email address. Ask them to contact you if more information becomes available or if new opportunities arise. 8. After you obtain employment or an internship, notify all networking contacts. Tell them briefly about your new position and thank them again.

Suggested Informational Interview Questions About the Career Field

• How did you get into this career? • What do you do at work on a typical day? What are your responsibilities? • What advice do you have for someone preparing for a career in this field? • What majors and/or minors do you recommend for someone interested in this field? • What courses and/or advanced degree(s) would be helpful for me? • What experience is necessary to enter this field? • What do you like most/least about your job? About the Organization/Industry

• How did you get into this organization/ industry? What other organizations have you worked for? • What is unique to your industry, organization, or office? • What do you like most/least about the work you do? What is your work environment like? • How does your organization fill job openings? Is that typical of other organizations in your field? About Future Growth/Salary Information

You will be surprised to find how many individuals enjoy speaking about their experiences and career development. If you aren’t finding any success in contacting professionals in your field of interest, stop by the Career Center for further assistance and resources.

• What are the employment prospects for someone in this field? • What is the growth and promotional potential in your field? • What areas are growing/changing in this field? • What is a typical starting salary in this field? • How do salaries in your field compare with those of other fields? Follow-up Questions

• Can you recommend other professionals in this field with whom I should speak? May I use your name when I contact them? • May I contact you again if I have further questions? • Which professional publications/organizations and other resources do you consider relevant?

The Career Center CAREER SUCCESS GUIDE www.ecu.edu/career 13


Career Success Guide 2011-2012