Career Services Center
Holthusen Hall, First Floor
1324 W. Wisconsin Avenue
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881
Phone: (414) 288-7423
Fax: (414) 288-5302
E-mail | Staff Directory
Talking to people who currently are in positions and career fields that interest you is one of the best ways to gain valuable career information. More often than not, people are open to being interviewed about their careers and career paths. Typically people, especially alumni, are excited to share advice and contacts with students.Where to find professionals to interview
Skillfully used, an informational interview is one of the most valuable sources of occupational information. Though it may cover some of the same ground as printed material or information on a company website, it presents opportunities for an intimate and flexible inside view of a job field unmatched by other sources.
The informational interview communicates the first hand experiences and impressions of someone in the occupation, and is directed by your questions. You are the one in control. Questions can be asked that may not be strategic during a first interview (i.e., questions regarding salary, benefits, vacation). You can discuss what is done on a day-to-day basis and relate it to your own interests and feelings. Beyond the advantages of gaining valuable career information, the informational interview provides the opportunity to build self-confidence and to improve your ability to handle a job interview.
Be prepared to ask specific questions. Your objective is to learn as much as you can. To accomplish this in as short a time as possible, prepare a written list of questions.
Ask good questions, get full information, and you will be able to make a better decision as to whether or not to pursue a particular field as a career possibility. Whatever your decision, be sure to send a thank you to the person that interview you. Provides you with information from someone in the field with everyday experiences!
Suggested questions to ask during a Career Information Interview:
1. In your current position, what do you do in a typical day?
2. What are the most interesting aspects of your job?
3. What part of your work do you consider dull or repetitious?
4. What percentage of your time do you devote to such duties?
5. In your work, do you have opportunities to interact with people from diverse backgrounds?
6. What were the jobs you had which led to this one?
7. How long does it usually take to move from one step to the next in this career path?
8. What is the step above the position you currently hold?
9. What is the top position you can expect to have in this career field?
10. Are there other areas in this field to which people may be transferred? What are they?
11. What are the prerequisites for your position?
12. Are there any specific courses a student might take that would be beneficial in this field?
13. What entry-level jobs qualify people for this field?
14. What types of training do companies give to a person entering this field?
15. What is the salary range for the various levels in the field?
16. What aspects of a career in this field do you consider particularly good? Particularly bad?
17. Is there a demand for people in this field?
18. Do you view this field as a growing one?
19. How do you see the jobs in this field changing over the next two years?
20. What can I do to prepare myself for such changes?
21. What is the best way to obtain a position which will start me in this field?
22. Do you have information on job specifications and descriptions which I may have?
23. What special advice would you give a young person entering this field?
Informational Interview Follow Up
Send a thank you letter to all those you interview. Strong follow up may be the difference between getting to the next step or not. A thank you letter is also an opportunity for you to reiterate your skills or to mention something you may have forgotten or did not have the chance to speak about.