Ask an Insider

Module: Career Development | Level: Medium | Estimated Time: 3 days
Skills: Career Research, Communication, Mentorship, Interviews, Networking

Overview

No matter your field of work or experience level, there’s always more to learn. In this brief, you’ll land an informational interview with someone working in your dream job—and share their insights with the Mavericks community—in three steps.

1. Find someone in your dream field.

See if friends, family, acquaintances, or colleagues already know someone. Ask on social media: “I’m interested in meeting people who ____, does anyone know someone who might be willing to talk to me?” Use LinkedIn to browse your dream company’s employees or your school’s alma mater (bonus points if you find someone with a shared connection who lives nearby.) You can also try attending a networking event, conference, meet up, career fair, etc.

2. Request an informational interview.

Once you’ve identified someone you want to learn from, send a brief email explaining who you are and why you’d love to pick their brain for 20 minutes. We recommend this template. If you don’t hear back or get a “no,” don’t be discouraged—thank them and try someone else.

3. Prepare thoughtful questions.

Remember that your goal is to gain insight, not land a job. Prepare for the meeting by considering what can you can learn from this particular person’s experience and perspective. Ask specific questions you actually want answers to; avoid vague blanket inquiries (e.g., “Do you have any advice?”) and questions that can easily be answered by Googling. Afterwards, thank them for their time and, if appropriate, ask if there’s anyone they suggest you contact.

Example questions:

  • What do you wish you’d known when you were at my experience level?

  • What misperceptions do people have about breaking into or working in this industry?

  • With my background and experience, what roles could I realistically aim for?

  • What can I do to become a more marketable candidate for employment?

  • I’m concerned about ____; does this worry have merit?

  • What mistakes do you see people around my level making when looking for work?

  • What skills, experiences, and personalities does your company look for?

  • Would you suggest any publications, organizations, etc. to network and stay up-to-date in this field?


Deliverables

Complete an informational interview with someone working in your desired field. Share your findings with the Mavericks community by creating a Skillshare project that includes the text of your questions and answers. If your informational interview was in person, over the phone, or over video rather than email, share your notes or summarize their answers.


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