Congratulations on making such a smart career decision. Interviewing professionals in your potential career path is one of the best ways to learn about your possible future and make valuable connections. Remember that the people you are reaching out to are friendly! They want to help. So, while this process can be stressful, enjoy the fact that you have people who are lining up who want to see you succeed. Understand that not ALL jobs in this field will be like THIS exact job/company /environment. Try not to over-generalize and make rash decisions based on just this experience.
This is an educational experience, not an interview, job or internship. It is unlikely that your matched IT professional will know specific job openings, so please do not ask him/her for a job or a referral to someone else in their firm for a job or internship. However, this highly valuable experience is an opportunity to gain advice.
So how can you make the best out of your interviewing/shadowing experience?
Preparation is the key to gaining the most benefit out of your interviewing/shadowing experience. Researching the company your IT professional works for is the first step in your path to a successful day at the office. The company website will be the primary source of information. Consider researching the following:
Any information that may be provided on the company website with regards to your matched IT professional will obviously also come in handy. Your school’s career center site has resources as well.
Also review the IT Professional’s LinkedIn url. This may help you understand their background and even come up with good questions. Only request to connect on LinkedIn after the interview has taken place.
Develop several pointed and specific questions for your matched professional. Remember that this is not only an opportunity for you to learn about IT, but also an opportunity for the professional and the company to learn about you. Also, brainstorm and anticipate possible questions the professional may ask you. Your educated and well-thought-out responses will impress. Examples of questions to ask:
Lastly, at the end, be very appreciative and consider asking, “Now that you have an idea of what I would like to learn more about, is there someone else with whom you think I should be connecting?”
Finally, it is essential to send thank-you notes or emails. This quick and kind gesture will forever be remembered and help secure yourself a place in your assigned professional’s network of business contacts.
Good luck in your interviewing/shadowing experience!