Steps to Follow
- Identify the occupation or industry about which you wish to learn.
- Assess your own interests, abilities, values and skills, and evaluate labor conditions and trends to identify the best fields to research
Identify people to interview.
- Start with lists of people you already know - friends, relatives, neighbors, present and former fellow students, present or former co-workers, supervisors, clients, etc. Professional organizations, the yellow pages, organizational directories, and speakers from seminars and conferences are also good resources. You should also feel free to call an organization and ask for the name of the person with a particular job title.
Prepare for the Interview
Read all you can about the field prior to the interview. Decide what information you would like to obtain about the occupation or industry. Prepare a list of questions that you would like to have answered.
Conduct the Interview
Approach this as you would any other interview: Dress appropriately, arrive on time and be polite and professional. Refer to your list of prepared questions; stay on track, but allow for spontaneous discussion. Before leaving, ask your contact to suggest names of others who might be helpful to you and ask permission to use his or her name when approaching these new contacts.
Immediately following the interview, record the information gathered. Be sure to send a thank-you letter to your contact within one week of the interview.
NOTE: Always analyze the information you have gathered. Adjust your job search, resume and career objective if necessary.
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