Talking to a current professional is a great way to determine if a career field is for you. An informational interview is an information-gathering conversation between you and someone employed in the career field in which you are interested. It allows you to learn about a career field of interest, while also doing a reality check.
- Talk to professionals recommended by faculty members, Career Center staff, friends from work, family, neighbors, alumni discovered on LinkedIn, etc.
- Set up the interview by phoning in advance and requesting 30 minutes of the person’s time—and then stick to that!
- If someone has referred you, give the person’s name and indicate why you are calling and that you are not asking for a job, but to get information about the type of work they do and how they got into that field.
- Be on time for the interview, dress professionally, and take notes.
- Send a thank you after the informational interview and consider enclosing a resume.
Possible questions to consider asking, select 6-8 questions to keep within 30 minutes
1. What interested you most about getting into this type of work?
2. How did you prepare yourself for this career, what classes or activities would you suggest to me?
3. Knowing what you know now, would you go into this career? Why or why not?
4. What do you like most and least about your job? What is most rewarding?
5. What skills or personal qualities are necessary in this career?
6. What do you do in a typical day and what type of people do you encounter?
7. How stressful is your job? What are the frustrations associated with your work?
8. What are the advantages and disadvantages of working in your field?
9. Would you advise people to enter this career area today? Why or why not?
10. What, in your opinion, is the job outlook in this career area?
11. How much variety is connected with your work?
12. Can you recommend the names of other people or employers I can consult to find out more about
your field? May I use your name to introduce myself?