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Coaching Career Planning

What are information interviews? One important element which will allow you to select your labour market is to collect as much information as possible on various professions and industries. Information interviews involve you having a think about what you want to know and then asking questions of someone who works in the relevant field, and they are a good way of gleaning information. Instead of being passive, sitting at home and cogitating, you take the initiative yourself to find out what the labour market is like and what people actually do in the job you are looking at.

What can I use an information interview for? • Learning more about a profession • Learning more about an industry • Finding out what skills are required for a job that interests you • Finding out what career paths are available to take you to where you want to go in the longer term

How should I approach this? The Careers Service has compiled a list of alumni who have registered with them, stating that they are happy to answer questions. This list includes alumni who work in a range of different industries and fields. You can download this list via the careers portal under the heading "information interviews". Of course, there are also other ways of finding people who you can ask questions of. When you call someone, it is important that you make yourself clear, do your homework and make sure you actually listen to what that person is telling you.

This is how it works: - Phone up and introduce yourself. Make it clear that you are not looking for a job but that you are just interested in finding out more about the profession/industry (do not forget to mention how you came by that person's contact details, and remember it is often better to phone than to send an e-mail).

- Ask whether your contact has time to answer a few questions. If not, ask whether you can phone back. If possible, ask whether you could visit and ask them a few questions.

- Ask questions about the profession/industry which interest you (which you have prepared thoroughly beforehand). Constantly ask follow-up questions (what do you mean, can you expand on that, can you describe in a bit more detail...).

- Be prepared to explain a bit about yourself and your background.

- Make sure you do not go on too much. Do not forget to thank them for their time, and ideally send a letter/e-mail thanking them.

- You may sometimes be really lucky and be given the opportunity for a study visit at the company of the employer you contacted. A lot of people who have tried information interviews feel this is a fantastic thing to do and say that this is the point at which all the pieces of the puzzle have really fallen into place for them, making them more certain of the career path they wish to follow in future.

What questions can I ask? Below are a few examples of the kinds of questions you can ask.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

What are the most common tasks you have to perform? Describe an ordinary working week for you. What do you think are the most and least enjoyable aspects of your work? What kind of a person do you need to be to enjoy this job? What opportunities are there for development? What is the contact with your colleagues like? Describe your "corporate culture" (intense, formal, warm, friendly) What are your views on people's ages when you recruit new staff ? What is the average age of the people working with you at the moment? What skills/experience/training are needed to make a success of your job? What opportunities are there for development in your work? What entry level openings are there for this kind of job? Could you give me the contact details of anyone else I could phone besides yourself ? How do you take on your staff ? What levels are salaries in your industry/department set at, or what salary level is offered by your employer? What qualities and experience are needed to do a good job? What are your views on experience versus training? Where does the emphasis lie in your work? What roles and tasks are performed at your department/for your employer? How do you work at the moment with (for instance) quality and environmental issues? The staff who work for you, what backgrounds do they have? What is important to you when you are looking for new staff ? What language skills do your staff need to do their jobs?

Good luck!

Information Interviews  

Fins out more about the job of your dreams by performing infomation interviews!

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