Books · Business · Career

Informational Interviewing you

In Richard Nelson Bolles – What Color Is Your Parachute?, Bolles wrote about Informational Interviewing. It’s where you contact your friends, family, etc and ask them for contacts in the field that you are interested in and gather information for your career change.

It can be a job you’d held in the past or currently. You can link back to this post but it’s not compulsory. The reason I post this is I’m researching on jobs and would love to know more about your jobs. I’ll comment on some of my job experiences too because I’m not a sucker that takes without giving :p

Duration in this position:
Salary & benefits:
Other factors that helped you in scoring this job:
The job is about:

How did you get this job?

What do you like most about it?

What do you hate about it?

What’s next? What do you need to achieve that?

Who else do this kind of work?


I don’t expect these to reply but what the heck:

9 thoughts on “Informational Interviewing you

  1. Job: Personalized Service Agent (hi-tech position name huh?)

    Co: Outsourced to HR co for IT MNC

    Duration in this position: < 2 yrs

    Salary & benefits: RM1500 in 2002 after Degree. Left at RM2000 – RM2500. 5 days work but could spill more than 8 hrs/day if there were urgent cases (which was always that, for me anyway). Co trips at least once a year, if dept makes money, another dept trip. All local trips however. Rewards (co’s premium products, vouchers for movie, dept stores) from dept boss if you get compliments from customers.

    There are people who got RM1800 – RM2000 once joined with previous IT / call center experience. Some seniors who stayed for >4yrs get about RM3K++

    Education: Bsc (Hons) Comp Sci

    Other factors that helped you in scoring this job: Lack of manpower in the dept when I was hired hahah! Boss said, “Wanted to inject new blood in to bring more (spirit) up.” Preferably usage of computer (at least know MS Excel, Word, Access) and technical knowledge, good in spoken and written Engllish, local dialects, like to help people, patient, listener and creative in solving problems.

    The job is about: Taking inbound calls for customer service. Complaints, asking for directions, checking updates on repair / claim / warranty / out of warranty cases, etc. Block bad / arrogant / rude customers from reaching the higher level to complain. Ensure customers get their rights and the right level of service for their products. Log cases and comments, updates customers. Liaise with coordinators, technicians and receptionist (when the caller asks for someone in another dept).

    The first month I took about 60-80 calls per day then progressed to taking over 120 calls – hard to solve problems without multitasking. There were 3 other colleagues who handled that many calls as I did.

    Learnt about how to handle difficult customers, bosses and colleagues, communication via email, phone and fax.

    How did you get this job?
    Applied via job agency. Interviewed via phone x 2.

    What do you like most about it?
    Free usage of co’s facilities – internet connection, printers to print Harry Potter ebook (didn’t manage to finish printing it though shh) and other interesting career articles. Ok, non-career articles included but on recycled paper! Senior colleagues who passed on the useful tips and friendly, nice people there that became friends. Training with other dept & consultants – learning about troubleshooting. Trips. Rapport with customers. Some customers do ask for their favourite PSA but that can be annoying when the love is not mutual.

    What do you hate about it?
    Talk to unreasonable customers who think that their money can buy anything, people who are not performing up to par get the same/higher salary than me and stressful environment.

    Where can you branch out / up to? What do you need to achieve that?
    Become team lead/supervisor, coordinator for call management or jump to technical troubleshooting / helpdesk / onsite technician. Team lead – leadership, motivating personality (or there’s no other better person to do haha and it’s not only in my team). Coordinator – communication and good rapport with technicians and customers, time management and scheduling. Any other team as long as your boss approves.

    I took on more responsibilities – drawing up processes for new contracts, updated the database for new supports, spreaded the info and trained colleagues on how to handle the new supports, managed email support too, etc. Taking just calls and solving them could be boring after awhile – there was always a new problem but it was the same problem, just different customer. It was for me. There are people who are happy with such work though.

    Who else do this kind of work?


  2. omg now i understand why my msian friends come to singapore or even take risk to be “parachuters”.. for a degree student your pay started at $750sgd and even when it went up oni $1250sgd.. how to survive in JB and KL? haiz.

    i’ll reply the tag soon.. soon.. =)


  3. Joyce, yeah, low rite? I always felt I should get at least RM3K since some of the seniors got that but do less meaningful and quality work than me :p


  4. Hi, I am a Rainbow. :)

    Job: Writer/News Editor for off our backs/Legal Assistant

    Co: Independent contractor/self-employed as a writer, too personal to divulge the lawfirm I work for, but it is a very large lawfirm in the Pacific Northwest in the U.S.

    Duration in this position: As a writer, all of my life; six years in my current job as a legal assistant

    Salary & benefits: As a writer, no benefits and the pay is zero to very poor! As a legal assistant, I earn $60,000/year.

    Education: Four years of college, no degree

    Other factors that helped you in scoring this job: My professional contacts throughout my life have helped me to get the jobs I currently have. As a writer, I started my own publication as a zine in 1989 and it grew to become an international monthly with 50,000 readers; this has led to many other opportunities to publish my writing; my legal assistant job is a job which involves assisting attorneys with paralegal and administrative work.

    The job is about: writing for publication/assisting attorneys in representing their clients in legal matters.

    How did you get this job? I got my writing job by writing, because I love to write; once my writings had wide circulation, doors opened for me to publish more of my work; my legal assistant job is a job I have returned to over the past 30 years three separate times when writing did not support me and my family for whatever reasib.

    What do you like most about it? Writing isn’t really even a job for me; it’s something I have to do to be okay. It is satisfying to me, fulfilling, I am good at it, it is a form of feminist and progressive activism, it gives my life meaning. I enjoy my job as a legal assistant because legal work is always interesting and challenging. I work independently, the work is stimulating and satisfying, and at times I am able to feel as though I am helping and supporting worthy individuals.

    What do you hate about it? The only thing I hate about writing is the deadlines, and the way I struggle against them! I don’t like my work as a legal assistant when it involves providing support for companies and organizations I do not respect for whatever reason.

    Where can you branch out / up to? What do you need to achieve that? The sky’s the limit with writing; I can write books, articles, essays, whatever I want, I can work for publishing houses, can work as an agent, can start a new publication. I have achieved as much as is possible to achieve as a legal assistant; the only way I could branch out is to go to law school and become an attorney myself.

    Who else do this kind of work? There are many thousands of writers throughout the world and lots of legal assistants as well, in every country.

    Thanks for adding me to your list. :)



  5. Sulz @ added this too:

    Job: part-time telemarketer

    Co: company X (selling toshiba facsimile and photocopier products)
    Duration in this position: since june 2005

    Salary & benefits: rm12 per hour – near my home – familiar with work – good boss – able to choose days to work. the job only about 4 hours per session, so average one day about rm48.

    Education: spm or higher, fluency in english and malay and if possible chinese

    Other factors that helped you in scoring this job: not applicable
    The job is about: calling offices to promote toshiba products and generate sales through telemarketing

    How did you get this job? found through classifieds

    What do you like most about it? good pay

    What do you hate about it? repetitive and have to face rudeness from people

    Where can you branch out / up to? What do you need to achieve that? not applicable

    Who else do this kind of work? not applicable (only one position available)


  6. Jason had earlier emailed me and he just started working in marketing for a starting job portal company.

    marketing executive (but basically doing most of the spearheading of the new set up and projects, exploring possibilities and also testing new marketing strategies for the 2 companies that i’m serving).

    Co: recruitment agency & career seeker sharing and interaction plaftorm

    Duration in this position: less than 4 months (im a fresh graduate, still)
    Salary & benefits: 1700 basic plus 100 allowance, plus all those basic benefit lo, like medical claim, millage claim for projects and some funny claiming i asked (i can ask for stuff, haha) like magazines, books, online subscriptions, and some tiny tiny stuff la. and i got 2 days of flexi-hour-day, means i can either go work late (i go damn late, normally after lunch) or work from home.

    Education: bachelor degree in economics, uum

    Other factors that helped you in scoring this job: my previous projects back in school, my creativity and sentivity about marketing strategies, leadership, project management and stuff (according to my boss la, im still exploring but marketing definitely is my passion, always craving for new knowledge), and the way i presented myself gua…

    The job is about: marketing (basically the company is a small set up, no marketing department and im basically the person to spearhead the department, as well as the new set up company, project management (i plan projects that can cater to the markeitng objective of both the companies, exploring possibilities etc.). basically my job is online and explore internet reading blogs, websites and explore for new things, and absorb them and implement them into the business (quite fun actually).

    How did you get this job?: i was actually being indirectly interview when i deal with my boss during my school projects (they are recruiters, damn experience, can kill people without seeing blood) and before i graduated they already asked me to join.

    What do you like most about it?: for the the salary for my job load and responsibilities may be lower but i really enjoy the fun working as a team with everyone in the company, the vision and mission is the thing that i love the most. i was given the opportunity to learn from different marketing mentors, hands-on for planning (basically i involved in all the planning of the new set up) and to implement whatever i think its possible, with full support from the management team. and for your information, they’re training me as training an entrepreneur, not an employee.

    What do you hate about it? haha, sometimes i really have to drive the projects by my own without much of experienced guidance, not to say hate la, but really challenge my knowledge and energy in a way la.

    Where can you branch out / up to? What do you need to achieve that? im exploring a possibility to set up a company join venture with my current boss, and become partner la eventually (provided i can get the fund la) and for short future, i am expected to fill the position of marketing PIC if im developed and experienced enough till then.

    Who else do this kind of work? erm…. for fresh graduates, i think none of my friends, at least i never heard of any, holding such a responsibilities in a company (2 actually).

    His blog @


  7. 1 of my online fren replied this

    Job: Technical Support
    Co: IT co
    Duration in this position: 7 yeas
    Salary & benefits: 2.8k (what benefits?)
    Education: diploma in telecommunications, electronics & computers
    Other factors that helped you in scoring this job: used to be a bum
    The job is about: talking to stupid people and make them feel good about themselves

    How did you get this job? accidental, they need some technical guy and i just got the job

    What do you like most about it? the freedom within the company

    What do you hate about it? the office is getting political and they are hiring lousy managers to do a lousy job

    Where can you branch out / up to? What do you need to achieve that? think project management office, but would have to upgrade my job grade first

    Who else do this kind of work? hmmm…. i don’t know.


  8. Okay, I’m back you can find my answer to this here: it’s pretty long because I have several jobs, so I answered the set of questions for each job.

    I was tagged for this interview . . . well 2 years ago, and for some odd reason the backlink comment only just showed up today!!!! OMG! Why did it do that? Oh well, I figure I should answer it, better late than never, right? Sorry for the delay in the response.


    Here is a copy of my job #1 answers for the post:

    Job: Writer/Author

    Co: self employed; freelance

    Duration in this position: since 1978; still working in 2009; 31 years!

    Salary & benefits: varies from $0 – $200 per project

    Education: I left public school at age 8; self taught after that

    Other factors that helped you in scoring this job: it’s a job I created for myself because I love to write

    The job is about: writing (formaly I wrote fiction, but since 2006 I’ve only written non-fiction)

    How did you get this job? I just started writing and than had it printed up (self-published) or sent to a publisher (traditionally published) or posted on a web page (web publishing) or posted on a blog (problogging). Being a freelancer, means I have a lot of ways to get published and I take advantage of every single one of them as often as possible. The more I write, the more I get paid.

    What do you like most about it? I like that I can change my schedual to fit my needs: if I want to stay awake and write steady for 48 hours, I can. If I don’t feel like writing for 2 or 3 weeks, I can do that too. I like that I can work around other jobs too. I guess you could call me a work-a-holic, because I’m not happy unless I’ve got lots of jobs all at once.

    What do you hate about it? Lack of a steady income – you could end up going weeks or even months between pay checks; lack of any benafits: no social security, no retirment, no insurance, nothing, zip, nadda.

    What’s next? What do you need to achieve that? Next? After getting approxamatly 600 fan requests for me to write an autobiography of my strange and multi faceted life with a focus on my time being homeless and the events that lead up to me becoming homeless and how I made it back up off the streets again, I started work on my book “For Fear of Little Men”, to tell the story of how my sightening of what some called and alien and others called a demon (though I called a faerie) resulted in a group of religious fanatics taking matters into there own hands by burning me out of my house. Of course on the side libes of that, and as a result of their religious prejudices, I’m planning to get my 900 page rant about why I dislike religion, edited down to a magageable 250 book, and finally get it published – I started writing it in 2003, and it just kept getting bigger and bigger.

    What do I need to achieve that? Not much. Pen. Paper. Word Processor. Memories of events in my life. Time to write it all down. And, since I own my own publishing house, well, I also need to publish it afterwards.

    Who else does this kind of work? uhm, well, other writers, here locally we have Stephen King living near by, and you’ve more likely heard of him, so I’ll use him as an example, only he’s more focused on traditionally published novels, and I’m more focused on shorter self published chap books.


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