By Brittany Shivers
Career Development Coordinator, Heathrow Campus
The Career Development Center proudly provides an opportunity for Seminole State students to participate in a job shadow opportunity each semester, however, we also recognize that the dates do not always work for all of our students. If you have ever been interested in participating but have not been able to make the timing work, we have a great alternative for you! It is called informational interviewing.
While job shadowing is usually at least a full day to a week, an informational interview is typically an hour or less. There are many benefits to informational interviews, including exploring a new career field, getting an up-close look at a specific company, and getting the perspective of employees that actually work in the field. These types of interviews can also help you discover what skills and experiences are important when it comes to being successful in your chosen field. If you are not sure where to start, please see the steps below!
Step 1: Identify the company/person you want to interview
Once you identify the field you would like to shadow, brainstorm a list of job titles within that field and begin to look for opportunities in your community. Some great sources to look to for potential referrals include family, friends, professional organizations for that field, LinkedIn, or a Career Development Center staff member.
Step 2: Set up the interview
When you have identified the person you would like to contact, reach out to them by phone or email. Begin the conversation by introducing yourself as a Seminole State student and explain to them why you are interested in their field. Be sure to share with them how you found out about their organization, whether it be through a person or through your own online research.
Step 3: Do your homework
Preparing for the interview in advance is the best way to make a great first impression. Make sure to do your research so that you are not asking questions whose answers could easily be found online. You should also come in with a list of questions prepared. For ideas on specific questions to ask. Here are some ideas: Questions to Ask at the Informational Interview.
Step 4: Conducting the interview
The first step to making a great impression is to dress professionally. If you have a suit, that is the best option. Visit our website for more details on what constitutes professional business attire. In addition, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to arrive at the location so that you do not appear rushed when you walk in. Bring in your list of questions along with a pen and paper to write down the valuable information the employer will share with you. Finally, ensure that your interview follows the schedule you predetermined with the employer. At the end of the interview, be sure to thank the employer for their time.
Step 5: After the interview
As soon as you can upon arriving home, write out a thank you note (preferred) or email and send it immediately. Be sure to personalize the thank you with something that really stood out to you from the interview. Keep a list of the people you spoke to at the company along with notes about the information they shared for future reference.
If you would like more information or assistance with setting up an informational interview, please visit Career Link to set up an appointment with the Career Development Center representative at your campus. We are here to assist you!