What is a career conversation?
Sometimes called informational interviewing, a career conversation involves talking with a person or people who are currently working in the field to gain a better understanding of an occupation or industry — and to build a network of contacts in that field. It is an informal way for you to learn about company culture, day to day tasks of a job, and career paths.
How to schedule a career conversation
Do your research, think about what you want to learn by asking for a career conversation.
Use your network to schedule a career conversation; alumni, friends or family are a good way to start.
You can call, email, or write a letter to request a career conversation. Ask for 20 minutes of their time and remember you are not asking for a job, just information!
Hello Holly, I am a Business student at UW Bothell and found you through our Alumni on LinkedIn. I am exploring a career path in your area of expertise and your job at UW sounds fascinating. Would you be willing to speak with me for 20-30 minutes about your experience in the industry?
- Come with a list of questions you want answered.
- Introduce yourself with your elevator speech.
- Do some research on the company, industry, and career field.
- What to bring with you: your resume, and a pen and paper for taking notes.
- Dress appropriately – make a good first impression. You never know where your conversation may lead.
- Stick to the time you requested. If you asked for 20 minutes, don’t take more than 20 minutes.
- Practice active and attentive listening.
- Ask for referrals – this is how you build your network and create opportunities for more career conversations.
- If time permits, ask the interviewer to review your resume – this is an added bonus to a career conversation.
After the conversation
Be sure to send a “thank you” note. Thank the person for their time, information, and insight.
Conduct multiple career conversations; everyone you talk to will have a different opinion, ideas, insight, and contacts for further networking.
Connect with UW alumni
LinkedIn is the easiest, most efficient way to connect with fellow UW alumni.