written by: Amber Bieneck-Thom
You know how your career counselor is always telling you to do informational interviews to find out more about the careers you’re interested in? Well, the Holiday season is the perfect time to get started!
Ever wondered what Uncle John’s job as an accountant was like? Considering a career as a physical therapist and always meant to ask Cousin Sue what PT school was like? Always have a hard time finding time to ask those questions? What better time than at Thanksgiving as you’re all sitting around waiting for the turkey to be done?! Let them know that you’re considering majors and careers, and are wondering if they’d be willing to tell you a little more about their job – I bet they won’t say no!
To get you started, here’s a great list of common informational interview questions and topics to have on mind:
- What is a typical workday like for you?
- What are your responsibilities?
- What experiences, skills and education are necessary for a person who wants to do this job?
- Do you feel your academic background was a good preparation for the work you’re doing?
- What do you like most about your position? Least?
- Your undergraduate major was _______. Is that typical for people in this position?
- What are the pressures, problems and challenges for a person entering this career?
- The skills I’m most interested in developing are ________ and _______. Is this a good field/company to be in for someone with interests in those areas?
- Are there some types of people more likely to find success than others?
- How did you enter this field?
- Is your career path typical?
- How competitive is this field?
- What are the types of organizations that hire people in this field?
- What are the emerging trends or challenges you’re facing?
- What professional associations do people in this field belong to?
- Are there certain professional publications or websites you’d recommend?
- Are there other occupations/organizations that you might suggest I look into?
- Are there other people you know that I might speak with to learn more?
So, if there’s anyone in your family or close to home that you know you want to do an informational interview with, but have been putting it off, do so no longer! The Holiday season is the perfect time to check some of those interviews off of your list, and I guarantee your curiosity and interest will make you a popular person with the fam! (And having something to talk about might just make things a little less awkward too!).