October 3rd, 2013 | Comment
Still not decided on a career? Keep exploring. Career exploration does not end with the interview, graduation, or the first job. You want to continue to research companies and individuals within your field(s) of interest. This will help you stay current on industry trends, industry or company initiatives, and who’s who in the industry. Informational interviewing is a great way to learn from industry insiders and build a network within your career interest, not to ask for an internship or job. If you went to the career fair, you have already experienced one form of informational interviewing by exploring a career, discovering skills employers seek, practicing your pitch, and connecting with employers in the field. You want to repeat the process through other methods such as phone conversations or meetings. Be prepared when speaking with industry experts. Keep the phone conversation or meeting brief. Their time is valuable. When you contact them via phone or e-mail, state clearly your interest in their field and express your curiosity to learn more. Schedule a date and time most convenient for their schedule.
To prepare, follow these steps:
- Know yourself. What are your interests, skills, qualifications, and goals? Be able to articulate them.
- Prepare a pitch. You are not trying to hard sell yourself. However, you never know where this bridge may lead you. Be succinct allowing 1-2 minutes for your introduction to why you are interested in the field and career goals. Know what you want to take away from the conversation. Use this worksheet as a guide to develop your pitch.
- Make a list of questions. You want the questions to be insightful and relevant to their experience, work, and industry.
- Close the conversation. Always ask if they recommend other individuals to interview about the career field. If they give you names, follow through. Promptly contact those individuals following the same steps listed here.
- Be professional. Send a thank you after the phone conversation or meeting.
- Follow up. Stay connected with your contact. Send an update on your exploration, and interviews with contacts made from their recommendations. Share information you find on industry news and trends.
- Track your contacts. Use this networking tracking tool to keep track of your opportunities and contacts.
Category: Professional Development