Whether you’re a nursing student earning a BSN or an MSN, informational interviews are a form of networking that can open doors for your career while simultaneously opening your eyes to what is possible.
An informational interview is not focused on a specific position; rather, as a nursing professional seeking to make connections, gather career-related data, or learn about other professionals, you can request informational interviews in order to expand your knowledge and your network.
How it works
Informational interviews are a process by which an individual seeking contact with a specific person, organization, or area of specialty requests a targeted meeting with a holder of valuable knowledge.
When requesting an informational interview, it is prudent to make your goals for the meeting very clear, to offer for the meeting to be concise (20-30 minutes), to make sure the interviewee knows that you value his or her time, and that you will make the interview as convenient as possible. You may choose to share your questions in advance so that the interviewee has a good understanding of the information you seek.
At the time of the request, you can offer to come to the interviewee’s workplace, or suggest meeting at a convenient restaurant where you will buy whatever refreshment they desire. If visiting the individual’s office, you may offer to bring their favorite beverage from a local café of their choice.
Arrive on time, have your questions in hand, and bring a copy of your resume and business card. Be aware of the time, do not overstay your welcome, and express warmth and gratitude. Be sure to follow up with a hand-written thank you card sent by mail.
Why an informational interview
Let’s say you’re in the process of earning your BSN, and you think you may be interested in moving even higher in your nursing education, but you’re not sure what type of program would best suit your goals and aspirations. Who can you talk to?
If you think you may want to become a Family Nurse Practitioner, for instance, a good way to find out more is to interview a few NPs to learn about their careers and experiences.
As a nurse job seeker, an outside-the-box method of learning about a particular facility or employer is to request an informational interview with a nurse leader. Bring your resume and business card, but use the time to learn more about the organization, what types of candidates they generally seek, and other information you would like to glean. Don’t worry if they’re not hiring; use an informational interview in order to make a connection and get exposed to an influential colleague who may in turn reach out to you in the future when opportunities arise.
A powerful means
Informational interviews are a powerful means to learn about specific facilities or employers, meet influential or knowledgeable colleagues, get to know your peers, gain exposure to those who would not otherwise know you, and learn about areas of specialization that interest you.
Informational interviews are for data gathering, networking, and testing the professional waters. Use informational interviews as a strategy for growing your network and amassing information that can be extremely useful in the development and forward movement of your career.
Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC is a holistic career coach for nurses, award-winning nurse blogger, writer, podcaster, speaker, author, and popular career columnist for Nurse.com. With two decades of nursing experience, Keith deeply understands the issues faced by 21st-century nurses. Keith’s two podcasts, RNFM Radio and The Nurse Keith Show, offer inspiration and practical support to nurses seeking to create meaningful, satisfying lives and careers. Keith’s message of savvy career management and professional satisfaction reaches tens of thousands of nurses worldwide. He can be found at NurseKeith.com.
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