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Gaining firsthand information about a specific career field is incredibly valuable, and one of the best ways to do this is by speaking with professionals who are actively working in that area. This is where an informational interview becomes a powerful tool. An informational interview typically lasts about 20-30 minutes, so it’s important to be well-prepared with questions for your networking contact. This preparation not only ensures efficient use of time but also shows respect for your contact’s busy schedule. In this extension of your learning, you’re encouraged to brainstorm questions for your upcoming informational interview. Start by opening a new document and giving it a relevant name. At the top, create a heading and then use bullet points to organize your questions. This format will help you clearly outline and structure your thoughts. Focus on selecting questions that align with the career field you’re interested in. Consider asking about the key responsibilities of the job, required education and training, and advice for someone looking to enter the field. Aim to brainstorm a minimum of five questions, and feel free to add more as you think of them. 

Additionally, to further expand your professional network and deepen your understanding of the job, consider asking your contact to recommend another person in the field whom you could speak with. This not only broadens your network but also provides varied perspectives. At the conclusion of your interview, politely inquire if you may contact them again in the future for additional questions or to continue your conversation. This leaves the door open for ongoing communication and relationship building. Lastly, don’t forget the important step of sending a thank-you email after your interview to express your gratitude for their time and insights. Now, it’s time for you to take action: open a new document, name it appropriately, and begin creating your list of thoughtful questions for your informational interview.