Informational Interview Write-Up

Informational Interview Write-Up

When you write up your informational interviews, you should include the following in roughly 1.5 – 2 pages (minimum) per interview:
a) Transcriptions of all or at least the most relevant parts of the interviews.
b) Overall impressions of the interviewee.
c) What you learned about the potential career.
d) Your personal reflection on the activity itself (was it difficult, awkward, intimidating, fun, etc… Would you do it again on your own?)

Below are some typical informational-interview questions. Remember that you won’t have time to ask anywhere nearly all of these questions, so target the ones you feel
will be most useful to you personally. Pick a dozen or so that get at what you most want to know.

• What is your job like?
– A typical day?
– What are the duties/functions/responsibilities of your job?
– What kinds of problems do you deal with? – What kinds of decisions do you make?
• Why did this type of work interest you, and how did you get started?
• How did you get your job? What jobs and experiences have led you to your present position?
• Can you suggest some ways a student could obtain this necessary experience?
• What things did you do before you entered this occupation?
– What other jobs can you get with the same background?
• Why did you decide to work for this company?
• Do you find your job exciting? Why?
• What sorts of changes are occurring in your occupation?
• How does a person progress in your field? What is a typical career path in this field or organization?
– What is the best way to enter this occupation? – What are the advancement opportunities?
• What were the keys to your career advancement? How did you get where you are and what are your long-range goals?
• What are the skills that are most important for a position in this field?
• What particular skills or talents are most essential to be effective in your job?
• How did you learn these skills? Was there a formal training program?
• How would you describe the working atmosphere and the people with whom you work?
• What is the average length of time for an employee to stay in the job you hold?
• Are there incentives or disincentives for staying in the same job?
• Is there flexibility related to dress, work hours, vacation schedule, place of residence, etc.?
• What work-related values are strongest in this type of work (security, high income, variety, independence)?
• If your job progresses as you like, what would be the next step in your career?
• What obligations does your employer place have on you outside of the ordinary work week? – Are there any social obligations? – Are there organizations that you
are expected to join?
• How has your job affected your lifestyle?
• What is the average starting salary? Is there a salary ceiling?
• From your perspective, what are the problems you see working in this field?
• What are the educational requirements for this job? What other types of credentials/licenses are required? Is graduate school recommended?
• Does your work relate to any experiences or studies you had in college?
• How well did your college experience prepare you for this job?
• How important are grades/GPA for obtaining a job in this field?
• What abilities or personal qualities do you believe contribute most to success in this field/job?
• What are the typical entry-level job titles and functions? What entry-level jobs are best for learning as much as possible?
• Do you have any advice for someone interested in this field/job? Are there any written materials you suggest I read? Which trade/professional journals and
organizations would help me learn more about this field?
• What kinds of experience, paid or unpaid, would you encourage for anybody pursuing a career in this field?
• Do you have any special words of warning or encouragement as a result of your experience?

The whole interview could be spent finding answers to the dozen or so questions you decide to ask. But as you practice and move further toward your target, questions
will probably pop into your head spontaneously based on what you need to know.
Pay careful attention to what’s said by the person you interview. Ask questions when something isn’t clear. People are often happy to discuss their positions and
willing to provide you with a wealth of information.
Try to keep the conversation friendly, brief, and focused on the contact person’s job and career field.

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