The Power of Informational Interviews: Students Discover Their Career Path

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Informational interviews prevent students from wasting time and money in college by going down a wrong career path. Student Launch Pad's most recent statistics show that for those in their program, informational interviews not only provide direction toward a career field but also pivotal job and internship opportunities.

The informational interviews were a really beneficial part of the Student Launch Pad process because it gives you a good picture of what a potential internship, job, or career field may look like in your future.

Informational interviews provide students with the opportunity to gain an understanding of their career options. Students meet with top executives, senior directors, and managers in their fields of interest and find their career passion.

When Emily, a college sophomore, discovered her communication strengths and began exploring her interest in public relations, she conducted several informational interviews with key connections in that career field to gain more knowledge about the industry. One of her meetings led to an internship offer with a social media firm, which she was also able to earn college credit for completing.

However, this experience is the exception for most college-bound students. The national average shows that over 50% of students change their major up to three times, taking at least 6 years to graduate from college as a result. Much of this indecision is from students’ inability to identify their career interests and strengths, and how to match those to relevant career fields.

As seen in the Student Launch Pad program, over half of its students indicate before starting the program that they either strongly disagree or disagree with the statement, “I have explored potential career interests and met with people in that career field.” After completing Student Launch Pad’s program, over 90% of its students agree or strongly agree with this statement.

A significant experience that students go through in order to picture their future and get to know themselves better in the process is to conduct informational interviews. This process is foundational for participants in Student Launch Pad’s programs, which coach students on gaining acceptance to their dream colleges, choosing their best college major, and finding their ideal career.

Take Sonia, who after interviewing a successful immigration lawyer began focusing the remainder of her high school years toward this goal. Or consider Caleb, who interviewed top marketing executives, and like Emily, landed a competitive summer internship during college.

“The informational interviews were a really beneficial part of the Student Launch Pad process because it gives you a good picture of what a potential internship, job, or career field may look like in your future,” says Caleb.

When coaching students on how to conduct informational interviews, Stephanie Shackelford, Founder of Student Launch Pad, has them ask professionals about how they ended up in their career, what their typical day looks like, and the best aspects and challenges to their job.

Conducting informational interviews provides students with risk-free exposure to career fields. Sitting down with a professional at their office or workplace also gives further insight into the work environment and as an added bonus improves students’ own interviewing skills in the process. Most importantly, informational interviews expand a students’ network, can land job and internship placements, and prevent students from wasting time and money in college by going down a wrong career path.

ABOUT STUDENT LAUNCH PAD
Student Launch Pad coaches high school and early college students to make the best decisions for their future based on the intersection of their strengths and passions. Through our one-on-one or online coaching programs, students are accepted to their dream colleges, choose their best major, and find their ideal careers. Student Launch Pad’s sister company, Career Flight Plan, offers career coaching for college seniors, recent graduates, and working professionals. Through one-on-one coaching programs, clients develop a flight plan to navigate their best possible career future.

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Stephanie Shackelford
@StdntLaunchPad
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since: 11/2012
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