As a former admissions officer and academic advisor, I know the value of good career research. Students who do significant career research before entering university are generally more focused and successful at the university than those who do not do career research. As simple as that.
Students make better program and university decisions when they make those decisions based on real and current information. One of the best ways to get real and up-to-date information about potential careers is through information interviews with people in those careers.
An information interview is an informal conversation with someone who works in a career that you think you want to pursue. As an interviewer, you ask questions to get information from the person about their career.
An informational interview is not an interview. It is a tool that you use to explore possible careers and discover possible ways to get into this career area. This way, you can also build a network of people who can help you find a job at this time.
There is not much positive about this global pandemic that we are in, but one of the small advantages is that some of us have a little more time to do things that we normally didn’t have time to do. Without extra-curricular activities, many students have more time and many adults work from home, and some have a more flexible schedule for this reason. So this is an excellent time for students to connect with people and conduct information interviews.
Informational interviews are usually conducted at the person’s workplace. The student can see the person’s work environment, which is a great way for the student to get a “feel” for the job. Unfortunately, we do not currently have this ability. The fact that we are all at home and online can actually make it easier for people to take some time to conduct an information interview with a student. So this is a good time to request an interview.
I’m not just talking. My son is in the ninth grade. He wants to work with computers. I asked my friends to suggest people who had a computer science background and interesting jobs and who were willing to take 30 minutes to be “interviewed” by the son.
For the past two weeks, he has had a virtual information interview with a software developer at a game company and another with a project manager who worked at IBM. He not only found out about her current jobs, but also asked her about her educational and career paths. They gave him advice on the professional fields he would like to see. He really enjoyed the experience and gave him specific information that he probably couldn’t find any other way. And the respondents liked to talk to an enthusiastic young person. Win – win all round!
So here is the opportunity: help your child invest time in the most useful and valuable career exercises – the information interview. Do it now while there is still time.
I have created an information interview guide for you. It contains everything you need to know about conducting an information interview, including a list of questions your child can ask and an email script to request an interview with.
Here is the link to download the manual:
I hope it is useful to help your child make an informed decision about their future!
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