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How to Ace a Phone Interview!

IMG_4827More career advice coming your way! This post will focus on a task we will all face when striving for a job. It is a task that is not meant to be stressful, as long as we are prepared. It is a task that asks us to put our best self forward and engage with other professionals. This task is the inevitable interview, and the School of Public Health, Career Services offers the resources to master all types of interviews. Hence, Crash Couse: How To Ace an Informal Interview.

Informal interviews are beneficial for a variety of reasons. By conducting informal interviews, you are able to make connections within the field of your interest. These connections can in turn become future employers or even avenues for internships. So do not be afraid to put your self out there and reach out to someone of interest within your field of study!

I recently conducted my first informational interview, and was surprised and pleased with the outcome! Through the use of LinkedIn, I found an IU alumni working as a Registered Dietician in the Chicago area. By interviewing her I was able to gain an inside look of what working as a Registered Dietician in private practice would be like.

First step: Who to talk to?

I reached out to IU alumni because I felt like there was already a connection between us. (HOOSIERS for life!…right?) IU alumni will be excited to talk to IU students. Another great start is talking to your family and friends. Even if there is not anyone within your immediate circle working in your field of interest, I am sure they would know someone.

Second step: Is it weird to talk someone that you do not know personally?

I have to admit that I was a little hesitant to reach out to someone that I did not personally know. To save you the time here is some advice: Don’t be hesitant! It is completely normal to ask a professional within your field if you could conduct an informal interview with them. Here is what you can say in just one brief email:

  1. Introduce yourself
  2. Mention how you are heard about them
  3. Explain your interest within the field
  4. Request a short amount of their time for an informal interview

Third step: Should we talk via Skype, phone, or in person?

If the professional is living in your area and is willing to meet up in person that would be ideal. However, don’t let too far of a distance burst your bubble because phone and Skype interviews are common avenues as well. If talking over the phone make sure you turn you phone on silent to avoid any other distractions. If talking over Skype, become comfortable with using Skype before conducting the interview. In all situations, allow yourself enough time to prepare!

Fourth Step: How do I prepare?

The School of Public Health, Career Services has useful handouts that outline types of interviews and example questions, so make sure that you utilize these resources. Write up your own list of interview questions, and include some of the common, must ask questions. Also, research more about the professional you are talking to in order to ask less generic questions. If meeting in person, make sure you arrive at least 10 minutes early. If talking over the phone or Skype, have a quiet space where you will sit and be ready a few minutes early. Also, know who is calling whom and take into account different time zones! I learned the time zone difference from experience.

Fifth Step: During the Interview and after, too!

During the Interview listen intently, talk clearly, and be enthusiastic. Absorb all of the advice that professionals have from their own experience. Also, the time after the interview is just as important! Be sure to send a follow-up thank you letter, which you remind them of who you are and point out specific elements of your conversation that were helpful. This is how you keep the connection and open a sea of opportunity. I am already planning on meeting the person that I interviewed when I travel to Chicago this November! As you can see, exciting opportunities WILL come from an informal interview.

rachelRachel Helfferich is a sophomore majoring in Dietetics. Her career aspirations include becoming a Registered Dietician and working to promote healthy, active lifestyles.


Categories: Career Advice

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IUSPH Career Services

Job opportunities for Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington majors are diverse and expanding as the emphasis on living a healthy lifestyle grows around the world. Career Services experts in each of our academic departments will provide one-on-one counseling and career building opportunities throughout your academic career, from choosing the right major to developing a strategy to find a job. They can assist you with:

•career counseling
•job placement
•volunteer opportunities
•resume and cover letter preparation
•interview skills
•graduate school preparation

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