A great way to find out about an occupation is to talk to-or interview-someone who does it.
Information you gather first-hand from people in the field is generally the most up-to-date information available. Since it reflects current market realities, an information interview is one of the best ways to find out about trends, future prospects and hot opportunities.
You can conduct an information interview in person, by phone or by email.
Information interview questions
The person you talk with would probably expect the following questions. Think about these questions and rephrase them to best reflect your own personality and the occupation you're considering:
- What do you do day-to-day in your occupation?
- What education or training does the occupation require?
- What skills does this occupation require?
- What credentials are most respected or most in demand?
- What personal qualities or abilities would help a person succeed in this occupation?
- How do people enter this field - both the usual and the unusual ways?
- How did you enter this field?
- What is challenging about this occupation? What is satisfying about it?
- What opportunities and challenges do you see for this occupation in the future?
- Would I be able to job shadow you to see if this is an occupation I might be interested in?
- Which professional, trade or industry associations should I contact?
- What publications should I read?
If you don't know anyone working in the occupation you're interested in
Before you approach someone to book an information interview or workplace visit, do your homework:
- Research the occupation you're interested in online and in print.
- Find out about the industry your contact works in.
- Check out the organization your contact works for.
Preparing for an information interview
Check out 7 Tips for Successful Information Interviewing.
My Contacts for Information Interviews
Make a list of the people you would like to contact for an information interview including the name, organization, email and phone numbers.