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By Ronak Parida, DLE Copywriter/ Content Creator Intern, Undergraduate at Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY
Enthusiastic guest speaker Roberta Gasbarre grabbed the interest and involvement of attendees at the latest DLE Breakfast Club within seconds with her hands-on approach to career ownership through the power of informational interviews.
Roberta, a Fulbright Scholar and Director of the Smithsonian Institution’s Discovery Theater, shared ready-to-apply techniques for asking and securing exploratory conversations for finding the right career fit. Interviewing has benefits—and here are a few, excerpted from the popular Breakfast Club program, now available on the DLE YouTube Channel.
- An informational interview can be the first step. Roberta considers an informational interview to be the first building block in creating a genuine connection with someone whose passions and pursuits interest you. Prepare questions in advance that will help you learn more about them. Informational interviews are not a place to ask for a job or about salary.
- Post-COVID, informational interviews are much more valuable. “People don’t run into each other as much,” Roberta said when referencing the hybrid world that the pandemic has shaped. There are far fewer face-to-face interactions, making every in-person networking opportunity a valuable experience.
- Connect with people you know or tap into a mutual network. Start by extending a request for an informational interview to somebody you already know. If you do not know anyone who shares your passion, find someone who may be able to connect you with someone that does.
- Find out how you can follow in the interviewee’s footsteps. Convey genuine interest when listening to your interviewee talk about their path and passion. Ask questions such as “How did you get to the position you are in now?” or “What kind of organizational structure do you have at work?” Inquire about resources and readings they rely on to build their knowledge and network.
- How do I get over the feeling of taking someone’s time without giving them something in exchange? Although it may not seem like it, you are giving the other person something for their time–you are giving that person a platform to talk about their passion. By showing interest in the other person’s passion, you are giving them a potential follower, subscriber or colleague.
Click here to watch the DLE YouTube video on informational interviews.