Informational Interview Guide
To find out more about a career area that interests you, the best thing you can do is to talk with someone who's doing the work. If possible, talk with someone who's doing the work in the geographic area where you'd like to be working.
How Do I Find the Names of Some People to Contact?
Here in the Career Center we have a list of people in the Coeur d'Alene/Spokane area who have already said that they are willing to talk with you. If none of them are doing what you're thinking about doing, look in the telephone book for some ideas. Don't call a personnel office. They are concerned with hiring for current openings. Call or come into the Career Center to obtain a name and number.
Before You Call:
Think about how this occupation might fit with your interests, personal values, long- and short-range goals, and best skills.
What Do I Say When I Call?
Use your own ideas, but here is an example:
"Hello, my name is __________ . I was referred by __________ at North Idaho College (or I found your name in the telephone book). I am very interested in learning more about a career in __________. It seems to fit my best skills which are __________, __________, __________, and __________. But, I still have some questions. Would you have 15-20 minutes to ask you a few questions, and get some advice from you?" (Make it clear that you're not looking for a job right now.)
If you are invited to goin person:
Write out the questions you are going to ask.
Dress as if this is a job interview.
What Questions Should I Ask?
Here are some suggested questions. Ask any that apply to you. Ask any others that you wish. Do try to be conscious of the 15-20 minute time limit. If they want to talk longer, that's fine. But, be sure that you're not stretching the interview longer than you've agreed upon and longer than they'd like.
Suggested Questions to Ask Career Resources:
How did you prepare for the job you have?
- What training would you recommend for someone interested in this field?
- What do you like most about what you do?
- What do you like least about what you do?
- Do you have any tips regarding getting into this field of work?
- What is a typical day like?
- What kinds of jobs can you consider with training in this field?
- How many years of education are required for this particular job?
- What are some jobs related to what you do?
- How did your individual history bring you to where you are now?
- What abilities help you to do your work?
- What do you spend most of your time doing at work?
- What advice would you give others preparing for this type of work?
- What do you see in the future for this line of work?
- What is your work environment like?
- What is the salary range for this job?
- What is important for advancement in this field?
- What is the competition like regarding getting a job in this field?
- What are some wise choices for entry level positions in this field?
- Who else would you suggest that I talk with?
Be sure to bring paper and pens with you to jot down ideas and information.
You can leave them with a copy of your resume or an information card if you wish, so that they can contact you if they hear of any openings or new tips for you.
Be sure to follow-up with a thank-you letter, both to thank them and to remind them of you.
Do make sure your address and phone number are on the letter.
I Am Planning to Contact:
By: Gail K. Laferriere