Informational interviews are essential in your career pivot. It’s a core belief of After Your PhD that informational interviews are career-changing. Asking questions and finding clarity is what informational interviews are all about. You can’t understand the world around you if you don’t ask questions.
The focus of an informational interview is not on getting a job, but rather on learning and building relationships. When I explored careers outside of academia, my network was very thin. I slowly grew a network, and ultimately, more confidence with each passing informational interview. My worldview began to shift and I saw the potential of what I could do outside of the Ivory Tower.
Informational Interviews – Where To Start?
If you just found yourself questioning about whether you want to stay in academia, here are few ideas to where to reach people who you could interview. I strongly recommend asking people with a PhD in their name and not in the name. More perspectives is best for your career pivot and outlook.
- Twitter (check #altac or #academictwitter)
- Students in cohort who left academia
- Facebook Groups
Supplement your growth and building your “soft skills” through books. These books are not all directly about informational interviews, but I argue these books can help you become a better interviewer and more easily tell your career journey/story. When you use informational interviews as a direct strategy for job searching, you’re ultimately “selling” and telling your story, it’s important to make an impact and treat your informational interviews seriously – but authentically.