If you’re starting your path to re-entry, you’ll likely be looking to schedule a handful of informational interviews. After all, the purpose of these types of interviews is to meet with someone in your field of interest to learn more about the industry, company, or job you are pursuing.

Even though these interviews are a little more informal, it’s still imperative to prepare. Compile well-researched and insightful questions that will elicit answers you can’t find through a simple Google search. These are questions that will augment your understanding of the skills needed for the field you’re interested in, identify your skill gaps, and help you gain insight into the functioning of a particular role. This is also a chance to increase your comfort level in an interview setting, and grow your network.

Be clear about your goals for an informational interview to ensure that you’re gathering valuable information to make strides in your job search.

1. To learn about the career trajectory of the person you’re meeting and how this applies to your own path, consider asking:

  • How did you get started in the field?
  • What do you know now that you wish you knew when you entered the field?
  • How did you decide to work in this company at your current position?

2. To understand the roles and responsibilities of the job you’re interested in to ensure your interests and skills align with what is required, consider asking:

  • What are the biggest challenges you face in your position?
  • What projects are you working on now?
  • What does a typical day look like?

3. To get specific action steps to transition fields, consider asking:

  • My background is in finance. How do you think I can leverage my skills for a career in fundraising?
  • Looking at my resume, what skills gaps do I need to address to be successful in transitioning my career?
  • What resources do you recommend so that I can move up the learning curve in this area?

4. To Improve your job search strategy, consider asking:

  • What job search advice would you give someone in my position who has taken a break from the workplace?
  • What are the most important industry-based organizations/associations I need to network?

5. To expand your network (perhaps the most important question to ask and best way to build your network!), consider asking:

  • Who else do you recommend I speak with in the field or at your company?
  • And, would it be possible for you to make an introduction?

See our roster of coaches for one-on-one help.