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May 26, 2020

Seeking Inspiration through Information

Informational interviews help with choosing a certificate or degree

Seek good information through experts.

Baking bread can be a touchy and challenging process, especially if you’ve never done it before. If you want to learn how to make the best bread, you don’t go to a florist or mechanic. You go straight to the source and ask the best baker you know to teach you the art of bread-making. You get to benefit from their experience and learn the tips and tricks that aren’t on the recipe card!

An informational interview is like that. It is a quick casual interview with a professional to help you gather information about potential careers that interest you. It can help you make informed decisions about which certificate to choose as you identify the skills you want to learn.

President Russell M. Nelson said, “Good inspiration is based upon good information.”1 Find the good information you need to make a better decision about your certificate, career, and future choices through an informational interview. Though it’s not a job interview, it can help you discover the direction, tools, and connections you need to prepare you when that time comes. It will even help you find information you can’t find online. Follow these five steps to conduct an informational interview.

1. Find someone to interview

Don’t let this step intimidate you! It can be scary putting yourself out there, but you will discover people all around you willing to help. The key is to reach out to others and access the power of your networks. 

Finding Ideas

Talk with friends to help you find someone to interview.

  • Talk to family and friends about your career interests and see if they know someone with a similar career path that you can talk to.
  • Utilize LinkedIn or similar networking platforms to finding common connections, those with a similar path you hope to follow, or someone with an interesting path. It’s okay to reach out, in a professional way, to people you don’t know.
  • Search according to your interests. It’s easier to find and talk to someone when you’re both passionate about the subject.

2. Initiate contact

Send a message to the person you want to interview over email, LinkedIn, or a similar platform. Be brief, clear, and specific about your intentions. If you don’t receive a response back, don’t give up. Send a friendly follow-up message.


EXAMPLE

Dear Michelle,

My name is Joseph, and I’m a computer engineer currently trying to further my education. I’m thinking about pursuing a certificate or degree in business management. After chatting with my supervisor, Ruth Clarke, she recommended I speak with you. I’m curious about how you were able to successfully blend your love of technology into a productive and meaningful business. I would love to learn more about your work and which skills you’ve used the most as you’ve built your business.

I want to be respectful of your time, but would you be available for an informational interview on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. or Thursday at 3:00 p.m.? Let me know if you can meet on one of those days or if there’s a better time for you.

Thank you for your time,
Joseph Kiribati


3. Come prepared

Nothing gives you more credibility than coming prepared. Learn what you can about the individual, their profession, and their industry. In addition, prepare questions to ask during the interview and consider sending the questions in advance so the person has time to prepare. This will help you lead the conversation and be respective of their time. Here are some questions you could consider asking.

Asking good questions leads to good information.

4. During the interview

As you interview them, be curious and passionate about what they have to say. Ask follow-up questions and be engaged. Share a little about you but mainly focus the conversation on them. Lastly, be respectful by being courteous, kind, and conscious of their time. This may only be an informational interview, but it could lead to further opportunities down the road.

5. Build a connection

Use the interview as a way to build meaningful connections. At the end of the interview, ask for recommendations for people to talk to next. They can lead you to additional people who can help.
After the interview, be sure to send a thank you note, expressing your gratitude for their time and the experiences they shared.

What would you ask in an informational interview? Share below!


Check out these additional resources:
Informational Interview Question Guide
Designing Your Career: The Informational Interview
Best Questions to Ask In an Informational Interview

1. ^ Nelson, Russell M., “Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2018, 93
2. ^ “Networking,” in Find A Better Job, (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2016), 19

Comments on "Seeking Inspiration through Information"

Boikhutso Pitlagano says:

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Christoncia Okoth says:

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Dany Bazika says:

Thank you so much. It is pretty good to have more information and examples for interviewing people.

Ntaene Tanua Bonteman says:

Great resource👍

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Shinehah Rivero says:

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Farah Primrose says:

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Patrick says:

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Jacque V Cook says:

Great information! I am so glad I’m taking the BYU-Pathway course! I am learning so much!

Brothers Mireille says:

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Anthony Willie says:

What a great lesson taught!
I guess if I had this idea long time ago I could have had a better job by now.
Thanks so much for the lesson provided.

Makafui Esther Amedzo says:

Thank you so much! It was really helpful and I believe I can go through interviews successfully.

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Justin Muchemwa says:

Great stuff indeed, it enlightened my way to great wisdom. Thank you.

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Erica says:

Thank you

Ashton Mupereki says:

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Simphiwe says:

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Thank you,
Simphiwe

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Thomson Kapoloma says:

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Mercy says:

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Thomas Chingwena says:

Thank you for the educational instructions; I am motivated and inspired to look forward to the future with much zeal and anticipation of good things to come. From the words of President Russell M. Nelson, “Good inspiration is based upon good information.” This is indeed good information.

Tshibumbu Matthieu says:

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Thanks a lot.

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Christian PF says:

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Osasumwen Eriamiye Igbinosun says:

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Susana Villatoro says:

Thank you for giving me ideas for getting meaningful information!

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Excellent teaching, helped me change and learn.

Lydia Silavwe says:

This information has really opened my eyes and removed my fears. I have learned a lot! Now am ready to go out there and do what is required of me. Thank you!

Thank you very much I’m inspired.

Jynina Sanerivi says:

Information well provided and very helpful, thank you.

Etuate Nabainivalu Tikoisuva says:

Thank you so much President for touching message.

Moote says:

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rebecka says:

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Nelly Manuel says:

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Carolyn M Bishop says:

Thank you for these guidelines! I would ask what future goals they have for themselves or where they want to be in say 5 years and how do they see getting there.

Kenslin Rohin says:

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Solange Menezes says:

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Kenslin Rohin says:

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Akesa Fuapau says:

Thank you for sharing these important tips and counsel. My question would be, “What is your drive that keeps you up late at night and get’s you up early in the morning?”

Geneva says:

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BERNARD says:

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Christian says:

Thank you for sharing. Very encouraging by the way and helpful when having interviews!

Basilisa says:

Thank you so much! Very helpful information, and I am so excited to do an interview.

Patrick Bobor Momoh says:

Thank you very much for sharing this wonderful piece that can help us to develop skills and interest for informal interviews that are good for successful career exploration. By all means possible, I will try to put them into practice to increase my interview skills and abilities for a successful career in the near future.

Junior says:

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Adedoyin says:

It is good to ask so that you will not miss road. Thanks for the enlightenment.

Jennyfer layanne Sales do Vale Santiago Torres says:

Thank you for the information!

I understand that I must practice and strengthen my professional communication.

Clement Mukenge Tshibala says:

It is a good thing to learn from others. It is one of the tools that we should consider most in this regard. I really appreciate this particular step for sharing with me this experience. We learn from each other.

Moses ogolo says:

Thank you for sharing these values. This article will go a long way in helping me.

Adechina valdès YACOUBOU says:

I’m really grateful for this step in my life. Thank you very much this article.

Angela Esquivel says:

This was very informative and helped give me direction.

This is a great way to explore the field a person wants to enter. Great article!

GORDON MAJONI says:

Grateful for the information — an eye opener!

Anthony Matende says:

Learned a lot from this information.

Frenz Adrian Sarabia says:

This is a really good information, and I received inspiration while reading. I’ve been doing some of it but I don’t really know how to prioritize, but with this article it all made sense! I am grateful and excited to apply these things.

Brendon Hamson says:

I find that two of the degrees offered in this pathway program will directly relate to the current career field that I am working in. While discussing with my current employer my schooling, I plan to bring up the two options that I have and which one I believe is the best and why, but ask for his advice.

DAGWAN PAN'AN DANLADI says:

This is really interesting! Following this process will give you a good result. Thank you for sharing these ideas with us.

Kyle Ntepa says:

Kayloa,

Thanks so much for your effort and input to gather together resources and put this article right here for us. I have been inspired and I am looking forward to having my own informational interview.

Kyle.

Imani says:

Thanks for sharing it open my mind

Fausto Ortiz says:

Thank you very much for all the information you had shared.

Ferdinand says:

Thank you very much for sharing

Umana says:

This is so uplifting and helpful!

Rodolfo Hoffmann says:

What was a key factor to make you do what you are doing now, and is this your dream job?

Raymond says:

This information has really enlightened me on what to do next! I am grateful.

leonel Yemafo says:

As we know seeking for knowledge is the key to success in every area. I learned awesome experiences .

Felix B. Kanu says:

This will really be helpful and it is timely. In the country I live, this kind of counseling is rare. I will start working on this encouragement

Ottah Friday Akuma says:

I really appreciate all the instructions given. It has given me a road map on how to plan and conduct an informational interview. I will find time to have mine done.
However, I still do not think I have chosen the right certificate course. I do hope by the end of the interview, I might come up with a better understanding of this process. Thank you.
Yours sincerely,
Friday

Josephus Salia Marveh says:

I have really been strengthened by the following information and am going to start my interview straight away. Because presently am confused about what course I will do when choosing a program, especially looking at the country I am living in presently.

Lauren Conrad says:

I’m glad this information was helpful for you, Josephus. Good luck with your interview!

mashegon says:

Thank you President, I have been enlightened.

Dorcas Mwafulirwa says:

Thank you, President, this information is so helpful.

Shantel Tinotenda Gorekore says:

Thank you for the lesson was so helpful and useful.

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