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Take, for example, working in publishing as a magazine editor. Sounds rather fun and glamorous to a lot of people. Well it is, and it isn’t. In this type of position you may get to travel and meet lots of interesting people. You may get to write copy and even articles. You will probably also spend a great deal of time reading and filing information, trying to contact people who are not very receptive and at some publications packing and shipping products back to manufacturers after the photoshoot.
After learning this, working on a magazine may still sound wonderful. But, it may not. The point is you will never really know the daily activities of any job unless to talk to one, or more, people who actually do the work.
Informational Interviewing may sound a bit scary if talking to strangers makes you nervous. If you’re the shy type, try using the P.I.E. method we found in What Color is Your Parachute?
The P.I.E. method for the shy breaks interviewing down to three steps (this will also help you prepare for your real job interviews):
Now you’re ready. You’ve read everything you can about the job and the industry. If you’re lucky, you’ve gotten the names of contacts from family and friends. Maybe you’ve had to find people on your own.
You’ve contacted potential interviewees by letter, followed by a phone call or directly by phone. And they’ve agreed to give you 15 minutes of their time. (While this can be done over the phone or in person, a face-to-face meeting is better if you can arrange it.) The professional outfit you’ll be wearing is clean and pressed. All that’s left is to prepare your questions.
While it’s a good idea to prepare your own questions, you may use the following as a guideline.