By LEAH MORROW
Informational interviews can really help students learn more about the career they hope to embark on
“Everyone is just a person, editors are just people,” said freelance journalist Anne Donahue, adding you should not be afraid to go out and talk to people, especially people in your field.
Tao Cruikshank, career adviser at Conestoga College, said conducting an informational interview was actually how she got her job here at the college. People requesting informational interviews are not asking for much other than for a bit of time.
She said if you are looking for a place to start, try Ten Thousand Coffees, a website designed to connect you with professionals in various fields. Whether you are a student searching for career advice or just a place to share your ideas, she said this website is full of people more than willing to meet up and talk. Cruikshank said creating a LinkedIn profile is also a good place to start because you can connect with alumni from the college in the field you are looking to get in to.
“You can do all the research you want online,” said Cruikshank. “It will give you job descriptions, salary ranges, labour markets and prospects.”
She said at the end of the day, the person who knows the most about what is going on in a certain profession is a person already working in that field.
“Informational interviews are great for one, because you go in and ask them questions that are really important to you,” she said.
Cruikshank said she recommends doing more than one informational interview.
She said that another great part of informational interviews is that sometimes the person you are interviewing starts to ask you questions.
“Self-doubt is poisonous to your work,” said Donahue, adding, We’re all human, we’re all a little insecure.”
She said if you stay connected with these people, generally these sort of connections turn into employment. She said you should not go into the interview looking for a job but sometimes that is what it will turn into. Cruikshank said it is all about networking and creating those initial connections.
“That is what happened to me,” she said. “Send them an email, stay connected.”
Cruikshank said informational interviews help you to figure out not only if the career path you are on is the right one, but also what is important to you.