Informational interviews are amazing tools for getting more information about a career path you are interested in, and for getting advice and potential connections as you start your job search. I tell my clients to plan on doing DOZENS (yes DOZENS) of these as they start their process.
Right from the beginning, as you think about your major and wonder what kind of careers can evolve out of a given major, you should be making it a practice to talk with people about the field. You can use these conversations to get clearer about the fit between the roles available and your skills and interests. As you get closer to graduating and actually looking for a job, Informational Interviews are incredible tools for broadening your network and getting connected with people who may be in a position to help you get that first professional job.
One of the ways that it is important to prepare for an Informational Interview is to have a list of questions that you want to ask the person you are speaking with. Often the conversation simply flows and you don’t actually need your list, but it is always useful to think ahead to what information you are actually hoping to get out of the conversation. This is especially important when you are just getting started. Here are my top 10 favorite questions to use on Informational Interviews.
- Can you tell me about your job, what your responsibilities are, who you work most closely with, what you really love about it and what do you wish was different? (OK I know this is actually more like 5 questions…)
- How did you find your first professional job out of college?
- What do people look for in the people they hire in entry level positions?
- What do you think the best entry level roles are for someone just starting out in this field?
- What skills are most important in your role now? How did you develop those skills?
- Are there organizations you think I should join?
- What companies do you admire most in the industry? Why?
- What is the market like for people like me who will be just getting started in this field?
- Do you have any general advice for me that I don’t know enough to ask?
- Are their other people who you think it would be helpful for me to talk with? Can I tell them that you suggested I contact them?
If you have other questions that are working really well for you, send me an email and let me know about them! And if you have questions that are blocking you from getting started doing Informational Interviews, email me your question at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free 30 minute consultation. I look forward to talking with you.