The holiday break is a great time for your student to learn more about careers by conducting an informational interview. An informational interview is when a young professional connects with people in their field of interest for a brief meeting (20 – 30 minutes) to learn about their job, how they got there, what a typical day is like, what they like best and what the challenges are. It’s not a job interview, but an opportunity to explore. For example, if your student is interested in the world of business but is unsure if they would like to go into accounting or marketing, they can schedule an informational interview with people working in both careers.
Parents and family friends are great resources to connect students with people for an informational interview. Ask yourself, family, friends and co-workers, “Who do you know who knows something about the (name the career).” People are often very willing to help and make introductions.
Once an appointment is made for your student to meet a professional for an informational interview, the student should be dressed professionally and be prepared with questions to ask.
Here are some informational interview questions to get your student started, courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE):
1. What is your typical workday like?
2. What do you like most (and least) about your job?
3. What skills/abilities are most important to succeed in this job?
4. What is your educational background?
5. How did you get started in this field?
6. What courses were most helpful to you and which would you recommend?
7. What is the best way to get started in this field?
8. Do you have any additional advice to help me prepare?
Students should always send a handwritten thank you note after they have met with someone.
Conducting informational interviews over the break is a great way for your student to explore careers without the conflicting time demands of coursework and activities of the academic semester.
If your student would like to connect with professionals in their field during the semester, please don’t hesitate to have them stop by the Griff Center (OM 013) – we can help connect them to our 40,000 strong alumni network!