As a work-life and career coach, I regularly work with people who are engaged in a full-blown career change. Typically, this process involves identifying potential "next careers" through a variety of methods, and then seriously exploring them. Informational interviews are a great way to do this, but many career seekers are reluctant to pursue these kinds of conversations because they aren't sure what to ask.
Not sure what to ask the professional who's granted you an information interview? Here are some ideas to help you get the most out of your meeting. These questions are based on the assumption that you have sent your resume to this person ahead of the meeting so they have some idea of where you are coming from.
- I understand the big picture of what you do. But day to day, what do you really do?
- What's a good day like?
- What's a bad day like?
- What keeps you up at night?
- What do you wish you had known before getting into this?
- What's the best thing about this job?
- What aspects of you (or skills) are growing in this job?
- What would make me more marketable for the position of . . .
- What would make me more marketable generally to an organization like yours?
- What other questions should I be asking you?
- Can you suggest other people I should talk to?
- Would you be willing to introduce me to them?
Is your career off-track in some way? Contact me for an initial consultation at no charge.
Copyright 2004, Sharon Teitelbaum.
Sharon Teitelbaum is a Work-Life and Career Coach who works with high achieving women with young children, people at mid-career, and professionals seeking greater career satisfaction or work-life balance. Her book, Getting Unstuck Without Coming Unglued: Restoring Work-Life Balance, is available at her website, http://www.STcoach.com.
Certified as a Professional Certified Coach (PCC), Sharon works by phone with clients around the world and in-person in Boston.
She delivers keynotes and workshops on work-life balance issues, has been in national publications including The New York Times and Working Mother Magazine, and has appeared on cable and network television. She publishes Strategies for Change, a newsletter offering practical tips for work-life success.
Sharon has been married for 30 years and is the mother of two amazing young women. You can contact her here.