If you have a career in mind that you might like to work in, check out your assumptions first. People who work in the career know what it is really like and can share their experience. Even if they are disgruntled with their career, they can provide good information as they share their highs and lows. Different things bother different people. What they might think is the worst part of their job, might be what you are looking for. Interviewing is a priceless way to determine if a job is a good fit for you. JUST DO IT. Many people don’t want to bother someone with these questions, but many people are happy to share. They are talking about themselves and most people don’t mind helping another person out. Take a risk and contact a few people who are doing the job you think you would like to have. It is worth your time.
Here are some things you might ask them:
- How long have you been working in this career?
- Why did you get into it?
- How did you get to where you are today (education to career advancement)?
- What training did you have before employment and what training have you had since to keep yourself fresh?
- What skills are most important for this job?
- What do you love and what do you hate about this job?
- What are the opportunities out there? Is it a tough market for this work or lots of opportunity and room for growth? How so?
- How has this career / work field changed since you have gotten in it?
- What does a typical day look like for you?
- What does the salary look like for this career – starting, mid and advanced?
- What would you recommend I do to learn more about this career (read, class, person to talk to, website, etc.)?
- Who do you think is a good fit for this career and is successful?
- Who do you see trying to do this career but it is not a good fit? Why is it not a good fit? What do they move to?
- What other jobs are like this career but a little different? How are they different? Have you considered those? Why or why not?
- What experience is needed or helpful to have before working in this line of work?
- If I were interested in this work, how would you recommend I get started (networking, connections, training, education, etc.)?
- What titles do people in this line of work have?
- Where does your company and companies that you work for recruit from (where do they find their people?)
- What organizations do you belong too?
- What books and magazines and RSS feeds do you read?
Christy Geiger, Executive Business Coach & Trainer, Minneapolis, MN