UAB postdoc working in a lab. One of the best ways to learn more about a career area of interest is to talk to people who are currently in that field about their experiences and career satisfaction. These conversations are often called ‘informational interviews’ and are a standard practice in networking and career exploration. With the advent of Zoom, your ability to connect with a variety of professionals has only expanded.

When considering an informational interview there are a few best practices to keep in mind:

  • Provide information about yourself and your reasons for being interested in the field when you reach out. You want to make sure that the person you’re talking to knows you are serious about learning from them.
  • Offer multiple avenues for conversation—Zoom, phone, in-person, email. This will increase the likelihood of finding a time and way of connecting that is convenient for both you and the professional.
  • Be respectful of their time. A 15-30 minute conversation is often enough to get a sense of experiences and start building a relationship.
  • Come prepared with questions and be prepared to listen. Example questions are:
    • How did you get interested in this career?
    • How did you obtain your current position?
    • What do you like most about your job?
    • What do you like the least?
    • What skills or certifications are needed?
    • What do you look for in a candidate when you’re hiring?
    • What level of positions do my qualifications make me best suited for?