Questions to Ask
The more prep you do in advance of a meeting with a new contact, the more smoothly it will go. Consider these questions, along with those based on your research into a field. Depending on your career level, your questions may be more or less specific.
A Day in the Life
- How did you enter this field?
- What has your career path been like?
- Do you use any of your graduate training in your job, and if so, how?
- On a typical day (or week) in this position, what do you do?
- What are the toughest problems you have to deal with?
- What is the most rewarding part of your job?
- If you were to leave this kind of work, what would drive you away?
- Does your work become more interesting as you stay longer?
- If things develop as you would like, what does the future hold for your career?
Assessing the Field
Trends and Insights
- Is there a demand for new talent in this occupation?
- How do you see this field changing in the future?
- What opportunities for advancement are there?
- Which professional journals and organizations cover this field?
- Based on my education, skills and experience, what other fields would you suggest I research further before making a final decision?
- What is the average length of time that employees stay with the organization?
- What type of formal or on-the-job training does the organization provide?
- How does the organization compare/differ with its competitors?
- What kinds of prior experience are absolutely essential?
- What personal qualities or abilities are important to being successful in this job?
- What is your opinion of my background and resume? Do you see any problem areas or weaknesses?
- Who do you know that might be willing to speak with me as well? May I use your name when contacting him/her?
- Which opportunities offer the most ability to learn a great deal?
- What is the typical salary range for these positions?
- How do people find out about these jobs?