Why an Informational Interview is so POWERFUL!

Winformational interviewse are almost at that time of year when millions of new college grads will walk across the stage without a plan for next steps.  The AfterCollege.com survey for 2014 college graduates showed that 80% graduatedwith no job or career lined up. The bigger issue is not just that they don’t have jobs lined up, is that most, don’t know which careers are in their futures.  The informational interview is a quick way to learn about careers from people on the inside.  It’s one of the reasons that career centers love to recommend this strategy to new grads.

What is an Informational Interview?

Do you want to find out more about a specific career or job? What people do in the day-to-day activities in a certain occupation? One way to do that is interview people who already work in that occupation. This type of interview is called an informational interview.

Print this list of questions to ask in your informational interview. How do you find someone to interview? Contact the staff in the Career Center on your #HBCU campus and I guarantee they can help you connect with an employer, alumni or professional in the field of interest.  If that doesn’t work, reach out to someone on social media.  You can find professionals on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.  They probably won’t have a sign that says they are open for interviews, but do your research and ask questions or ask for referrals.

Sample Informational Interview questions:

1. What do you do in a typical day on your job?
2. What training or education is required for this job/career?
3. What personal qualities or abilities contribute to success in this job/career?
4. What do you find most satisfying and most challenging about your work?
5. What was your career path after you graduated from your vocational program?
6. What opportunities for advancement exist in this career?
7. What entry-level jobs in this industry would you recommend as the place to begin a career?
8. In your opinion – how has this job/career changed over the last 5 or 10 years?
9. How do you see the job/career changing over th next 5 years?
10. Which professional associations or journals would you recommend?
11. If you could relive your career path in this industry, what would you change? Why?
12. Do you have any advice for me on my resume?
13. How can I change it to improve responses from employers in this field?
14. Who would you recommend I speak with to get more information about this job/career?
15. May I use your name when I contact the person you recommended?

This information fits the Career and Industry Awareness section of the career development model.

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