Career Development Center

Career Planning

INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEW GUIDE

The following is an exercise in informational interviewing.  It involves interviewing someone who is currently working in an occupation or field of interest to you, for the purpose of making more informed and effective career planning decisions.

Select an occupation of interest (i.e. social worker, accountant, graphic designer,etc.).  Research information about the field to decide on appropriate questions to ask a professional working in that occupation or industry. (See Occupational Information)

  • Identify professionals to contact for an informational interview in an occupation of interest.
  • Contact and schedule an appointment for an informational interview with a professional who is currently employed in a field of interest.
  • Call the person and request a meeting. (See Sample Phone Script )
  • Or you can write or e-mail the person, and follow up with a phone call.
  • Upon meeting the individual, ask him/her the questions you have prepared ahead. (See Sample Interview Questions )
  • Write a recount of the questions asked and responses given during the informational interview meeting.
  • Send a thank you note to the person interviewed. (See Sample Thank You Letter )
  • File away information on this interview for possible use as a contact in a future job search.

SUGGESTED STRATEGIES FOR IDENTIFYING CONTACTS
 
Personal Acquaintances - Utilize family, friends, neighbors, professors, alumni, fellow students, former or present employers, co-workers, supervisors, etc., as contacts or as referrals for contacts.

Business and Employer Directories - Research company information to obtain names of contacts through business directories, such as Standards and Poors, Moody's Manual, Dun and Bradstreet Indexes, etc., which are available at local libraries.  Check the Rivier University Career Development Center for additional employer print and online resources.

Alumni Directories - Obtain names of alumni working in fields of interest by contacting the Rivier University Alumni office.

Public Speakers, Professional Associations, Yellow Pages of Phone Book, Authors of Professional Articles, Chamber of Commerce, Newspapers (classified ads or business news).

PHONE SCRIPT FOR REQUESTING AN INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEW
( = Insert your personal information.)
Hello, my name is  and I am a senior  major at Rivier University. As part of my career planning efforts, I have been researching occupations of interest and I am most interested in exploring work as a .  I got your name from .  I would be most grateful if you would be willing to meet with me to tell me all about the work that you do. What would be a good day and time for you to meet with me?
(Assure the person that you won't take up more than 20 to 30 minutes of his/her time.  Stress that you are not inquiring about a job, but rather are researching a position or industry.  After the meeting, don't forget to send the individual a brief thank you note.  (See Sample Thank You Letter )

SAMPLE QUESTIONS TO ASK DURING AN INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEW

  • How did you come to work in this field/industry/position?
  • What career path did you take to get to where you are?
  • What are your duties and responsibilities?
  • What is a typical day like for you?
  • What do you see as the pros and cons of this type of work?
  • What are the qualifications, education requirements, etc. for this type of work?
  • Where would you see someone with my kind of background fitting in to this type of environment?
  • What factors would make one fail or succeed in this type of work?
  • What is your superior's job title?
  • Can you provide me with an idea on the organizational chart for your area? How many people work in your department? What do each of them do? What opportunities are there for advancement?
  • How will your current position lead to future advancement? What are some things you would need to do to continue to grow in your field?
  • What is an entry level salary range for this field? What is a typical industry salary range for someone on your level?
  • What challenge(s) are currently faced by you/your department/the organization/the industry?
  • What do you see as the nature of the job market in this field? Supply/Demand?
  • What advice would you give to someone wanting to break into this field?
  • What potential is there within this field for self-employment, a home-based business, owning my own business, part-time work?
  • What kinds of experience, paid or unpaid, would you suggest that someone pursue to make them more marketable in this field?
  • Do you ever utilize interns in this office?  If so, how many and what is the nature of the responsibility for your intern(s)?  If not, are you open to working with interns in the future?
  • Can you recommend any web sites related to your field or industry?
  • Can you recommend any area employment agencies, newspaper want ads, etc., that post job openings for your career field/industry?
  • Can you recommend any professional journals, conferences/workshops, or professional association memberships that relate to your line of work?  Where can I get more information about these resources?
  • Are there specific employer directories, industry leaders, or employer research guides I could further explore for targeting potential networking contacts in your career field/industry?
  • Can you refer me to anyone else whom I might speak with so as to continue my research?

SAMPLE THANK YOU LETTER

February 4, 2007

Maureen B. Smith
100 Clement Street
Nashua, NH 03060

Ms. Jane Doe
Information Processing Manager
XYZ Corporation
Manchester, NH 03040

Dear Ms. Doe:

I am writing you to let you know how much I enjoyed meeting you on Thursday and learning more about the field of Information Processing Management. Through our discussion, I now have a much clearer understanding of the options open to me within my area of concentration at Rivier University.

Many thanks for your time. I realize that your time is valuable, and I appreciate your willingness to share your knowledge and experience with me.

Sincerely,

Maureen B. Smith

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