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Career Action Center

Informational Interviews

Things to Keep in Mind

Making the Phone Call

Use a script. Don’t read it — Develop It! This will help you compose your words and you will sound more professional and organized. Practice with a friend or classmate until you can roll through your script in a proficient and conversational tone.

Example:

"Hello (Mr/Mrs/Ms)______. My name is _______. I am a student at Edmonds Community College studying _______. (Select from an alternative below based on how/where you got their name).

Alternative 1.

I’ve been researching career fields and I’m interested in learning more about _______. During my research, I became aware of (company name) and your role with (company name) and the ______ industry. I would very much like the opportunity to ask you a few questions about your career and how I, as a student, might better prepare for a similar career. May I have 20 minutes of your time for such a discussion?

Alternative 2.

I am interested in the field of __________. (Mr/Mrs/Ms) _________, of _________, suggested I might contact you for expert information and advice. I would very much like the opportunity to ask you a few questions about your career and how I, as a student, might better prepare for a similar career. May I have 20 minutes of your time for such a discussion?"

Conducting an Effective Interview

Follow-Up

After each interview, write a short, personal thank you note expressing your appreciation for their time and interest. You should try to mention 1-2 specific pieces of information which you found particularly interesting or helpful.

For additional information check the Quintessential Careers web site:
http://www.quintcareers.com/informational_interviewing.html

What do you ask?

Some possible questions are listed below. You will (or should) have many more and different ones, but remember—You can’t ask them all in 20 minutes!

  1. What is a typical day like? What kinds of problems and decisions do you face in an average week?
  2. What do you especially enjoy about your work?
  3. What are some of the difficulties and frustrations of your work?
  4. What are the characteristics of other successful people in your organization (or career field)?
  5. What are some of the important factors that have contributed to your success?
  6. What were the jobs that you had which led to this one?
  7. What skills are important to be competent in this field? What degrees and/or training are necessary?
  8. What courses or field experiences would be beneficial to better prepare for this field?
  9. Is there a current demand for people in this field? What about the next two to three years?
  10. How stable is the job market in this field? Is government funding a major factor?
  11. What mobility and/or rotation requirements exist in this occupation? Hours?
  12. What are the salary ranges for various levels in this field?
  13. Do you have any information on job specifications or job descriptions that I can have copies of?
  14. What sources of literature would you recommend to learn more about this profession?
  15. What professional organizations do you belong to or would you recommend? Should I join them now?
  16. Are there others who might meet with me and provide further information? May I use your name?
  17. What question(s) should I have asked you that I haven’t?

This information was created by Douglas A. Poad,
Assistant Professor and Internship Coordinator,
Mount Union College, Alliance, OH