Peeriodical: Find Out About Informational Interviews

Peeriodical: Find Out About Informational Interviews

By: Helen Kim
  4873 reads

There was a time when I didn’t know what informational interviews were.  Little did I know that I could contact people who had positions that sounded interesting and ask about what they did! Can you imagine how shocked I was when I found out? I wondered why would anyone want to meet with me and want to help me? And how come I didn’t know about this sooner?!

Well, well, well. After taking Info Interviews 101, I realized that people generally want to help out others and help them in their careers. When asked to share previous work experiences with a partner in a career planning class, I was initially skeptical. Through the group work though, I found that I really enjoyed listening to my partner talk about his experiences and I was happy to share mine with him even though we weren’t even interested in the field the other worked in. It felt good talking to others about what I did previously and knowing that little bit of information could help someone on their career search.

With my newfound knowledge on informational interviews, I hit the phone and sent off emails.  I’m not going to lie and say it was easy.  The first few calls I made, I was nervous and it was OK too, because I made sure I was prepared with a script.  After setting up a few informational interviews and meeting with people, I found information that I would never have found anywhere else unless I talked to the person in the position.

Every meeting was informative as I learned so much about the nitty gritty and things that aren’t found in job descriptions, including dislikes and stressful situations. There were some positions I ruled out and some that really interested me. Through the meetings, I wondered why I never thought about doing informational interviews for potential careers I thought I would be in “when I grew up” while I was in university? If I had, I would have been better prepared and would have made decisions after doing my research and due diligence.

Are there any jobs you are curious about? Why don’t you contact someone working in a career that you’re interested in and ask for an informational interview?  If you don’t know what an informational interview is, you can Google it online or go to Career Services to receive more information.

- Helen Kim -

Helen is a graduate of the Career Development Practitioner Certificate program at SFU and former practicum student at SFU Career Services.

Posted on November 26, 2010