Informational Interviews and Job Shadowing
Learn More about Your Desired Career Path
A great way to learn more about a job you’re interested in is to meet with someone who is in that profession. Once you identify a professional in your field (faculty can be a great resource for finding an alum in your chosen field), call or email that person to introduce yourself and ask for a half-hour of their time (offer to buy them a cup of coffee) and ask them about their career path. A personal visit or phone interview is much better than trying to do this via email. While this is not a time to ask for a job, it is wise to carry your updated resume with you, just in case they ask for it.
Plan to spend at least 20 minutes talking and gathering information about their career and the occupation. Read example questions here.
Job Shadowing is another great way to explore a profession that interests you. Usually, you will spend a full day, or part of a day, with a professional at their place of work observing what a typical day is like. This is a great opportunity to ask questions and get a real feel for the work. On the day of your visit be on time, dress appropriately, and be prepared to talk about yourself and your aspirations. Want to learn more about a career? Check out 100s of videos at Career One Stop.
How to Write an Informational Interview or Job Shadowing Thank You Note
Anytime you are able to conduct an informational interview or job shadow with someone, following it with a sincere thank you note is the best way to show gratitude. An email thank you is acceptable, but a handwritten note will make the best impression. Make sure to keep it sincere, professional, and prompt.