Career Conversations

by Holly Thompson & Amira Sounny-Slitine

A Career Conversation is a conversation to learn more about an industry, company, and/or a person’s journey into their current field. The idea here is for you to get information, not a job offer. 

 

Once you’ve connected (or reconnected) with someone in a particular field you’d like to learn more about, schedule a time for an informational interview. Ask them if they have time for a 20 minute phone call or virtual meeting for you to learn more about their industry, company, and role. 

 

Have questions ready so you can be respectful of their time, but it’s ok to let your curiosity add unplanned questions. Let them do the majority of the talking, and take notes! Be open to their suggestions, and demonstrate your adaptability and eagerness to learn. If there’s something you can contribute in return, offer it! If not, just listen attentively and thank them for taking the time to speak with you. Some examples of questions to ask:

  • How did you get into this field?

  • How did you get your current job?

  • Have you taken additional training courses? If so, was it beneficial? 

  • What do you enjoy about your job?

  • What are some of the challenges of your job?

  • What does a typical day look like in your role? 

  • What’s the environment/culture at your company like? 

  • How do you measure success in your position?

  • Is there anyone else you recommend I meet? 

Meeting

AFTER THE CONVERSATION

  • As your time in the meeting is coming to an end, restate their recommendations and your plan for action. Thank them for their time! (I recommend sending a thank you email as well.)

  • If they mentioned connecting you with someone else or potentially had more information for you, send them a follow up email to check in. You don’t want to pester them daily, but a gentle nudge to remind them that you were excited to hear more. 

Conducting these conversations will help expand your knowledge on a specific industry or field and can help you understand the next step to take to reach your goals.