Talking with people about their careers, or "information interviewing," is one of the most powerful ways to learn about a career. Questions about their background, their day-to-day, and the challenges and rewards of the positions can help you decide the best trajectory for your own career plan. Here's how it works - Simply follow the 5 steps listed below.
Step 1: Do Your Homework
Get the most from the interview by researching careers and company web sites before your interview.
Resources for researching:
Step 2: Find a Professional
Contact friends, family, faculty, and classmates asking if they know anyone who works in your field of interest. If you are having difficulty finding a professional to interview, please contact the Career Development Center for help.
Step 3: Contact the Professional
Step 4: Conduct the Interview & Ask for Referrals
What do you want to know? Prepare your questions in advance. You may want to seek confirmation from your research.
- What do you do on a typical day?
- What did you major in and would you do anything differently?
- What training or education is required?
- Is a graduate degree recommended?
- If you could change one thing about your job, what would it be?
- What do you love about your job?
- What don’t you like about your job?
- Does your company have an internship program?
- What do you look for in a job applicant?
- What starting salary range would be typical for new college graduates?
- What future earning potential might be typical in this industry?
- What advice would you give to a student preparing for this field?
- What part-time jobs or community service work would be a good fit?
- How important are extracurricular activities when hiring graduates?
- Is there someone else in the field you might suggest I speak with?
Step 5: Show Your Appreciation
Informational interviewing can have both short-term and long-term benefits. In the short term, you gain information and insights that can help you focus your career direction. In the long term, you may establish an important contact for future employment. Be sure to connect on Linkedin and send a thank-you note within 24 hours mentioning how the talk helped you and what suggestions you plan to implement.