Careers after 50 couple




Career Change Planning-The Informational Interview


Tips to Get the Most out of an Informational Interview in your Mid-Life Career Change


If you are over 50 and you contemplate a possible mid-life career change you’ll find the informational interview to be a great help in your career research. Properly done it should open up avenues of required career research; for example, how to gain appropriate work related experience, the pluses and minuses of the possible career, where the jobs are, and future prospects for the career. 


Proper planning for the informational interview is the key to getting the most out of the contacts. There is however, one thing you never do in an informational interview. You do not ask for a job, the reason for the informational interview is to acquire information.


Finding Appropriate Career Contacts to Interview


To find appropriate career contacts, check with your alumni association, local and national career associations, search Linkedin for contacts, all to find 10-15 or more individuals who are currently working in the desired career. Or who may have recently retired after working in the proposed career. 


If they live in your area, you’ll be looking for a short (15 minutes or so) face to face interview.  Otherwise a phone interview should be sufficient. Again, to emphasize, you are looking for career information, you should not bring up anything about looking for a job. 


If you handle yourself properly, the person you interview may volunteer information about available jobs-but that is not the primary purpose of the interview.


Suggested Informational Interview Questions 


Here are some suggested interview questions, and depending on the proposed career and in the course of your interviews, you should be able to add to the list: 


  1. What are the typical challenges in the job? 
  2. What do you like the most about the job, the least? Why? 
  3. Are there any educational requirements for the job? 
  4. Any surprises in the job when you started, how about now? 
  5. Any idea about salary ranges to start? 3-5 years experience? 
  6. How has the career changed over the last few years? 
  7. What do you see changing in the career over the next few years? 
  8. Is the career integrated into a career ladder? What is the next job up the ladder? What are the prospects of moving up? 
  9. What are the key qualifications for the career? What specifically are employer’s looking for? 

10. (Briefly review your education and experience.) What do you think I need relating to added education and experience to qualify for a position in the field? (Try to get specific answers.) 

11. Who else can I talk to regarding this career and this field? May I use you name in contacting them?  


Some additional informational interview ideas:  

Write out your proposed questions. Be sure to follow-up, as appropriate, on the answers. Ask "why," frequently. As you progress through you list of interviews you can edit the list of questions and add those that will help you gain additional information. 

Take notes during the interview. If you promise some additional information or you agree to added follow-up be sure to do as promised. Promptly send an appropriate thank you letter.

As you go through the interview, ask how your experience and education would qualify you for a suggested position?

If the interview is in person have a copy of your resume with you. If asked you’ll have a copy to provide your contact. Leave or send some personal business cards to your contact to ensure they can pass them along if they uncover some job leads. 

Finally, promise to keep your contact informed as you progress in you hunt for the right career and the right job.

You now have a good start on your mid-life career planning for a career change after 50. It should help you in deciding if the career is for you and lead you into additional career planning and research so you qualify for a possible job in the desired career.   




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