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Career Conversations Guide


Career Conversations (Informational Interviewing) allow you to:

  • Explore careers and gain perspective on skills needed
  • Develop knowledge of industry trends
  • Gain exposure to various jobs and different organizational cultures
  • Create a professional network to support the job search
  • Develop interviewing skills in a low-risk situation

Locating Contacts

Reach out to people you know and share with them your career interests and desire to connect with professionals in the field:

  • Advisors, faculty, and staff
  • Alumni
  • Career Services
  • Through experience-based classes and assignments
  • Colleagues, classmates, friends, parents, parents’ friends, friends’ parents
  • LinkedIn groups and professional associations

Setting Up the Career Conversation

Initial contact via email or phone should include:

  • An introduction of yourself including major and class year
  • Why you are contacting the person and how you got their name
  • Your interests as it relates to the field/industry
  • A request to meet with them for a 20-30 minute career conversation via phone, Zoom, or in-person meeting

Preparing for the Career Conversation

Research the organization/company/career field and the person you will be meeting. Preparing for the interview shows respect for the professional you will be talking to. Review the organization/company’s mission statement, new initiatives, long term projects, media attention, and overview.

Prepare a list of 5-7 questions for the conversation. Select questions that will help you gather useful information for your career research. Possible questions include:

General career field

  • What credentials or degrees are required for entry into this kind of work?
  • What types of prior experience are absolutely essential? What experiences do you recommend?
  • What skills or abilities are most essential for success in this job/career field?
  • Describe a typical workday or work week.
  • What parts of the job do you find most satisfying/challenging?
  • What is the job outlook for this field?
  • What are typical entry-level jobs in this field?
  • What do you suggest for job search strategies?
  • What advice would you give to someone starting out in this field?
  • What professional associations/journals would you recommend?
  • What are the most important trends/issues in this field?
  • What haven’t I asked you that I should know?

Specific to company

  • Could you please provide an overview of your organization/company?
  • Could you please provide an overview of your office/department/division?
  • What is rewarding about working at this organization/company?
  • What types of professional development opportunities are available?

Final and important question

  • Who else would you recommend I speak with for additional information?

The Meeting

  • Remember this session is for gathering information, not asking for a job. Therefore, you will be asking most of the questions.
  • Begin by introducing yourself and reaffirming your purpose (to gather information).
  • Limit your conversation to 30 minutes. Be respectful of others’ time. The interviewee may extend this time but leave it up to them.

After the Conversation

  • Email or mail a thank-you note expressing your appreciation for the interview and mentioning a couple of pieces of helpful advice from the meeting.
  • Connect with them on LinkedIn. Join any LinkedIn groups the interviewee recommends.
  • Stay in touch - this contact might be beneficial in the job search process.

Links

Contact Student Academic Support Services (SASS)

603-358-2500
ksc.sass@keene.edu
229 Main Street
Keene, New Hampshire 03435