Do you know what career you want post-military? Many veterans struggle with deciding what career path to choose once they have left military service. The informational interview has been popular for years, and recently has started to provide many job seekers information to help find the right career and the perfect job.
You might be asking yourself – what is an informational interview? Sometimes referred to as mentoring, this type of interview is simply a meeting with another person who is either in the industry you are interested in, or has information about a similar industry. A simple connection with the person – coffee or lunch – allows you to ask questions and learn about a particular career choice.
An informational interview can benefit you by:
- Allowing you to learn about a particular career path before you start on that journey.
- Help you determine if this would be a good choice for you and a good fit.
- Learn what types of jobs and job duties are available and what is expected in these types of positions.
- Experience the culture of this career choice to see if it is something you can fit into.
Be prepared when you have your conversation. You should be professional, and show you are prepared with questions that relate to the industry, such as:
- Can you tell me what a typical day is in this job position and how this position contributes to the overall team and company?
- What type of work-life balance is there?
- How did you get your position and did you have to do any additional education, etc.?
- What are you typically looking for in a job applicant?
- What things do you see done wrong or answered incorrectly during an interview?
- Is there potential for growth in this field?
- What advice do you have to advance in this field?
- How does the culture in your company compare with the culture of military life?
Remember to keep this conversation light and informal, it is not an actual interview, just a session to gather information. Do not go into this conversation blind – make sure you do your homework and know about the industry and what interests you most about it. Why do you want to enter this field?
Understanding the industry and why you want to enter it, will help make an impression on the person you are speaking with. This can be crucial, as they may look to hire you or may know of someone that is looking. Always thank them for their time, and follow up with a thank you note within a few days.
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