My Life Changing Interview
My very first Information Interview was life changing. I had been a teacher for nine years and knew absolutely nothing about what other people did for a living! I was seriously thinking about making a career change so I hired a Career Counselor and arrived at our first meeting with my “list” of what I wanted in my next career.
- Work downtown in the business district
- Get dressed up in corporate attire
- Go out to lunch in a nice restaurant!
Sad! I used to drive around in downtown San Diego, California wondering…what do all of these people do to earn a living in these huge office buildings?
My counselor and I talked about my likes and dislikes, my college years, my prior job experiences, and my personal “pluses and minuses” of working nine years in the teaching arena. After compiling and analyzing all my information and skills, my counselor suggested I look into the field of Training and Development inside a business environment.
Since I didn’t know anyone in the training profession, I did some research on local corporations and decided to “cold call” a major company knowing that there would be a Training and Development department. When the training professional answered the phone I told him I was a Special Education teacher ready to make a career change. He was very gracious and agreed to meet me to answer my questions and share his information.
We agreed on a meeting date and I sat down to think through and prepare my information questions. Some of the questions I like to ask:
- How did you get into this field?
- What attracted you to this organization?
- What skills does the field require?
- Can you describe the typical responsibilities of the position?
- What are the most challenging aspects of the position?
- What is your typical day or week?
- Are there professional groups and journals for this job?
- What is the career and advancement path?
- Will I receive any formal training?
- If I were to consider a career on this field, what salary range could I expect? (Avoid asking about salary, vacation time, employee benefits, etc. until you have asked a number of other questions that demonstrate your interest in working for the company.)
The day of my appointment I was confident, prepared, and looking forward to my meeting. My interview was eye-opening! As we exchanged information I couldn’t believe someone was going to pay me to teach adults how to get along with each other! Of course there were many courses in his Management and Leadership program and they all sounded interesting and “doable!”
At the end of my interview my contact made a great suggestion. He said, “Since you are so interested in this field, why don’t you come back in two weeks and watch me teach a class?” I was thrilled! This technique is called “shadowing.” Job shadowing is a work experience option where Young Adults learn about a job by walking through the work day as a shadow to a competent worker. Anytime you can actually watch someone do their job, take the opportunity!
From that day forward, not only did I know I wanted to do this job, I knew I could! It was perfect for my natural talents, and the type of experiences and training I had developed at this time in my professional life. Nothing now would stop me from getting into the Training and Development field!
It is my deepest pleasure to help Young Adults make these same amazing and “eye-opening” connections! I know how crucial they are, as Young Adults make decisions about their future career choices.