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|Informational Interviewing is a great way to learn about a career field that interests you. You can gain a lot of insight and also develop valuable contacts that may help you in the future. Here’s what you do:
- Find someone who does something that sounds interesting to you. You can use the yellow pages, internet search engines, company websites, friends, and professional organizations to identify possible contacts. Your counselor or career services coordinator can help you brainstorm. TIP: Professionals from smaller, lesser-known organizations generally receive fewer requests for information and may be more willing to help.
- Contact the person you’d like to interview. Let them know that you are a Kirkwood student researching careers. Ask if they would be willing to help you out by letting you interview them about their career path. Let them know it will take 20-30 minutes. NOTE: Make sure it only takes 20-30 minutes. For an example of a request for an Informational Interview Letter, (See Page 82).
- Prepare a list of questions, guided by what you would like to learn from the interview (see sample list below).
- Dress appropriately and arrive 10-15 minutes early. Bring a copy of your resume in case it is requested. Remember that your purpose is gathering information, not searching for a job.
- Keep a record of the information you gained from the experience. Reflect upon what you learned. Does it still seem like something you’d enjoy? Also, keep a record of the contact information for each person you interview because you may need it in the future.
- Send a Thank You note! The person you interviewed is probably a very busy person and generously gave you one-half hour of time, free of charge. Show your appreciation with a short thank you note.
Sample Questions for an Informational Interview
- Could you describe the career path you took to arrive in your current position?
- What is a typical day like for you? A typical week?
- What are your main responsibilities? How much time do you devote to each activity?
- What are some typical high pressure situations you deal with?
- What are the most rewarding aspects of your job?
- What are the most challenging aspects of your job?
- What would you most like to change about your position?
- How has this career field changed in the last several years?
- What changes do you foresee in the next few years?
- What character qualities/skills are important to have to be successful in this field?
- How can I obtain these skills/qualities?
- What educational experiences would be helpful to one hoping to enter this field?
- What educational experiences did you find helpful in preparing for this job?
- What are some common entry-level positions in this field?
- How difficult would it be for you to change to a similar job in another industry or setting?
- What are your future career goals? Are these common goals for your field?
- What are the actual hours you put in during a given week?
- Would you be willing to look at my resume/portfolio and give me some tips or advice on how to improve it?
- Would you recommend anyone else in this field for me to talk to?
MAKE AN APPOINTMENT
To talk with our career counselors, stop by 2092 Cedar Hall or call 319-398-5540.