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Career Conversations Guide

  1. Career Conversations (Informational Interviewing) allow you to:
  2. Locating Contacts
  3. Setting Up the Career Conversation
  4. Preparing for the Career Conversation
    1. General career field
    2. Specific to company
    3. Final and important question
  5. The Meeting
  6. After the Conversation
  7. Links

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.

Contact Student Academic Support Services (SASS)

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