Make the Most of ASK Night
Informational interviews are conducted not to apply for a job or internship, but simply to speak to someone in order to gather infomation. You might interview someone who works in a career field that interests you, or who engages in other activities for which you both share a passion. Although a "formal" informational interview is conducted best in a private meeting, ASK Night allows you to begin to gather information from others about post-graduation pursuits.
Informational interviews allow you to do serious "reality checking." You can find out first-hand if the daily duties of a person engaged in particular work match your understanding or expectation of that work.
The information you gather is essential in helping you identify the specific needs of a profession or a particular employer. This helps you determine if the challenges can be matched by the interests and skills you possess, which is always the key issue when you engage in a career search.
Interviewing for information allows you to establish valuable contacts with people who are in the field you are investigating. These are some of the people who may be your best sources of information concerning future job leads.
Tips to prepare:
- Prepare an introduction ahead of time. This will help you approach alumni with ease.
- Consider bringing copies of your resume in case you meet someone who knows of an opportunity and can forward it on your behalf. Make an appointment with a career advisor in CES beforehand to have your resume critiqued.
- Prepare questions to ask the alumni. See sample questions below.
Tips for ASK Night:
- Remember that networking is about meeting people; anybody could have information (or a connection) that could be helpful to your career path.
- It may be useful to ask for a business card for future reference. Keep in mind though, that asking for a card sets up the expectation that you will follow up. For instance, if you have a good conversation and ask for a card, we recommend that you send a thank you card or message within a few days of the meeting.
- Dress professionally to make a good first impression. It isn't necessary to go out and buy a suit for this event, but we do recommend that you dress nicely.
Questions you might ask at ASK Night:
- "How did you get into this line of work?"
- "What advice can you give me regarding a career in your field?"
- "Can you recommend tips for looking for jobs/internships in this field?"
- "How did your undergraduate experience prepare you for succes in your field?"
- "What advice do you have for students entering the job market in the current economy?"
- A great opener for anybody you meet: "What are you working on?"
If you meet someone directly involved in your field of interest, you can ask them more detailed questions about their work, day-to-day activities, skills required, etcetera.