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Conducting informational interviews helps you learn to identify people who are doing what you want to do. Different from a job interview, you ask the questions. Your goal is to gather information you need in order to make a good decision. You want people who are doing a specific job to confirm what the occupation is really like before you commit your time, effort, and finances to the pursuit of that occupation. The process helps broaden your knowledge of the occupational field you are exploring. Remember, you are not looking for a job, but confirming information you have about the occupation and also developing contacts that may prove useful in the future.
You may know a relative, friend or other acquaintance involved in the fields in which you are interested. Or you may know someone who can provide you with a potential contact. If you have no personal contact or referral, you may use the telephone to make a new contact.
Make an appointment to meet for 15-20 minutes. Even if you think you have the answers to some of the questions, the interview will help flesh out details and possibly fill in some gaps in your information – some that you may not realize are there. Be sure to thank your interviewee and follow up with a thank-you letter.
Questions To Ask:
- How would you describe your typical workday?
- What do you like most about your job?
- What do you like least about your job?
- What education and training is needed for someone who wants to enter this field now?
- What skills and experience is needed to get into this field?
- What personal qualities do you think are most important in your work?
- What do you wish someone had told you before you entered this field?
- What are the opportunities for promotion?
- Is this field expanding or taking any new directions?
- What steps did you take to enter this field?
- What are some alternative ways to enter this field?
- What is the salary range for this field?
- What types of people tend to do well in this field?
- What are the stressors that you experience on the job?
- What related occupations would you suggest I investigate?
- Who else does this type of job?
- What else do you think I need to know that I have not asked?
- Can you give me the names and contact information of three other people who also enjoy working in this field?
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