Job Hunt Tips: How to Conduct an Informational Interview

Sick of your job? Facing down another joyless workday that’s sucking the sunshine out of your otherwise cheery disposition? Well, cut yourself, your co-workers, and your clientele a break and find another job. Start with an informational interview.

But before you do, spend a little time researching career alternatives, so you don’t jump into a similar, loveless situation. Schedule a few informational interviews and discover a world of boundless opportunity. Regain the enthusiasm that propelled you into nursing by embarking on a new career.

What is an Informational Interview?

An informational interview is a data-gathering process where you meet with a thought leader, industry influencer, solid practitioner or a potential employer who can advise you about a career area that sparks your curiosity, but about which you know little. You are not necessarily seeking an actual job; you’re merely researching opportunities. An informational interview also is a networking tool because the person you’re meeting with may come from your previously established network or may contribute to it as a new connection. Finally, an informational interview keeps you sharp for job interviewing, which is a skill best learned through repetition.

Don’t be shy about contacting strangers for an informational interview. Many reasons might motivate people to make time for you, even if they don’t know you.”

For example, my mentor taught me to never turn down an interview with a potential job candidate just because I didn’t currently have a job for that person. She insisted that one day I might have a job for that person or, if I could, create one. Second, some people just enjoy meeting people who are interested in their opinions and what they do. Last, if you’re a leader in your field, making time to discuss your work is an obligation that comes with the job.

Informational Interview Questions to Ask and Research to Do

1. Take stock of your current professional job and role. Decide what you still like about it or why you took it in the first place. For example, burned out or not, what is it that you like about your job? Is it the adrenaline rush you get from pulling a critically ill patient from the brink of death? Is it learning about the newest tools and technology you can use on your unit? Or is it interactions with patient family members that make your day?

2. Scan the healthcare environment in a new and different way, looking for jobs, roles, and people you think might engage you, or that dovetail with aspects of your job that still satisfy you. For example, if as a critical-care nurse, you love saving lives, go online and look for other specialties that do just that, such as trauma, emergency, or flight transport nursing. If it’s technology you like, explore the medical-device industry where healthcare professionals are needed to market products and training. Or if working with families is your thing, take a look at specialties that revolve around the family, such as family nurse practitioner, home care nurse or palliative …read more

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