New professionals and career changers can definitely benefit from a couple of informational interviews to get valuable insights into the field that they’re about to enter.
While reaching out and actually talking to professionals you don’t personally know may be a bit awkward, remember that there are many that would love to help others who are starting a career in the same industry. It’s just a matter of having the confidence to ask and set up the casual interview.
So, do your research on the career field, find the right people to interview, prepare yourself, and most importantly, list all the right questions down so you make the most out of the conversation.
Here are a few you may add to that list.
Questions To Ask In An Informational Interview:
1. Can You Talk About Your Career Path From Getting Out of College to Your Internship and Eventually Landing the Role That You’re In Right Now?
The very first thing that you should ask about, is a general overview of the career that you’re about to take. Having a general knowledge of the field you’re getting into sets your expectations for the future, and having that discussion with a person who went or is still going through all of it is even more valuable.
You’ll get details and learn what they had to accomplish, from getting out of college to their internship, and eventually landing the position they hold today. This will give you tremendous insight into your future and help you imagine going through the same path.
Also, ask how they managed and what they learned when moving from one role to another.
2. So, How’s a Typical Day at Your Job?
Now that you’ve got an overview of the career path, ask for important details such as what’s the day in a life like for someone in your job/position/field. It’s like immersing yourself beforehand with valuable details of the job because it’s certain that there are a lot of things you still don’t know about it.
3. Can You Talk About the Most Important Skills One Should Possess In Order To Be Effective and Have Opportunities Open Up for You in This Field?
In order to excel at your job, you’re going to have to constantly upskill. So, ask about the needed skills that one should possess to stand out in the industry. What are the technical skills you’ll need right from the get-go and what are the management skills you need to develop, so you can move up the ladder?
4. How Will I Earn an Internship Position for This Job?
Now that you have a solid overview of the job/field, you can be direct and ask about something that you can take action for in the present. How do I get an internship at [company name]?
Now, you’re one step closer to your goal.
5. I Really Want To Learn More About [Another Important Aspect of the Field/Job]. Who Do You Recommend That I Talk To Next?
Informational interviews don’t stop after your conversation, it’s also a way for you to broaden your connections with people in the same industry. Chances are the person you will be talking to has established a solid network.
So, don’t be afraid to ask for referrals to somebody else whom you can communicate with and that could possibly further your knowledge. Then repeat questions one to five until you think you’re ready.
It’s also good to prepare some follow-up questions beforehand so you get a solid understanding of the career that you are about to explore. If you’re going to dedicate a few years of your life to something, you must at least be confident of your choice since it’s an important decision.
Good luck with the interview and may you create meaningful connections in the process. For more interview tips and valuable career advice, visit our Personal Branding page.