Student Life

Information Interviews and Shadowing

The best way to explore a potential career choice is by speaking with and/or following someone who works in that career.

  • Do an information interview. Learn first-hand about your chosen profession by asking questions about tasks, business environment, and educational background.
  • Shadow a professional. Follow someone in your career choice as they go through a typical day or week on the job. Ask questions and observe the work.

Finding a Profession(al)

Finding someone to interview or shadow is not difficult. Ask your parents and your friends’ parents if they know someone you can interview. Ask your professors for recommendations of professionals in the field. Go to your career center: Many maintain lists of alumni and employers who are willing to help in your career exploration.

Next, call or write a letter requesting an information interview or job shadowing. People who like their jobs tend to enjoy talking about them. You compliment the professional by expressing an interest in the career. In your phone call or letter, explain how you found the person you want to interview and request time for an appointment. Emphasize that you want to find out more about the career—you’re not looking for a job. If you're lucky, the professional you contact may have other colleagues you can interview also.

Example Email

Here is an example email that you would send to a professional contact or through LinkedIn requesting an informational interview.

Dear Ms. Smith,

We have not met before, but I was referred to you by Professor Cathy Wright from Western Illinois University. She knows you through your mutual experience in Phi Theta Kappa. I am also a member of this organization, and a current Sophomore at WIU! This semester, I am solidifying my plans for after graduation by gaining industry knowledge within the field of communication. Would you be available to meet for coffee in Peoria next Friday to discuss your career in public relations? Thank you for your time, and I look forward to your response.

Maggie Jones

Asking Questions

Takes notes during your time with the professional. Here are some questions you might ask:

  1. What is your typical workday like?
  2. What do you like most (and least) about your job?
  3. What skills/abilities are most important to succeed in this job?
  4. What is your educational background?
  5. How did you get started in this field?
  6. What courses were most helpful to you and which would you recommend?
  7. What is the best way to get started in this field?
  8. Do you have any additional advice to help me prepare?
Following Up Your Interview

Review your notes. What was your impression? Did you leave the interview feeling as if you can envision a future in this occupation or were you discouraged—you don’t feel you learned enough about the occupation or the job description doesn’t sound appealing any longer?

Take your thoughts and concerns to the career center staff and get feedback on the next step to take in your career exploration. You may want to do additional information interviews in this career path or you may want to reexamine your goals and find a different path for your interests.

No matter what you decide, send a thank-you note to anyone you interview or shadow. Whether you decide to forge ahead on that career path or find another one, this professional may be a good person to network with when you begin your job search.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers, copyright holder. .

Job Shadowing Opportunities

Farm Credit
Mr. Jason Mills
2901 E. Jackson St
(309) 833-2302
Agriculture Finance/Business
Accurate Hearing
501 West Jackson Suite A
Andy Bennington
Communication Sciences/Disorders
Advanced Rehab & Sports Medicine
Macomb, IL & Canton, IL
(309) 836-2500 & (309) 649-1572
Physical therapy, athletic trainer, marketing
All Pets Veterinary Clinic
Dr. Karen Blakeley, DVM, MPH
722 W Jackson St
Affordable Plumbing & Construction
239 East pierce #1
Mike Parker
Robert Johnson
Facilities, IT, Transportation, Purchasing
Century 21
Lorraine Epperson
119 North Randolph
Real Estate Sales
The Computer Source
Jeff Husband
717 W.Jackson St - Ste B
Edward Jones
John White, Financial Advisor
1750 W. Jackson
Finance majors
Genesis Garden
William Wetzel
400 E. Carroll St
Seeking any person "with a heart full grace and soul generated by love" or anyone that likes to help people!
Macomb Area Convention Visitors Bureau
Nikki Gray, Executive Director
201 S. Lafayette
RPTA, event planning, hospitality, marketing, geography, non-profit business
Magnolia’s Restaurant & Catering
Ms. Lisa Ward
130 N Lafayette
Restaurant/Catering Management
McDonough County Health Department
Kerri Allen, Community Health Director
505 E. Jackson St.
309-837-9951 ext 205
Nursing, Public Health, Environmental Health, Administrative, Emergency Preparedness
McDonough County United Way
Cayla Walsh, Director
440 N Lafayette St
RPTA, Communication, Non-Profit
McDonough District Hospital
Ms. Tobie Richey, Recruiter
525 East Grant Street
Various opportunities
Nelson’s Clothing
John Nelson
104 North Side Square
Retail Merchandising/Sales (prefer 2-3 people at a time)
Pella Corporation- Macomb
Contact HR
Management Supply Management, HR, Engineering, or IT
James Pumo
19 East Side Square
Mr. Scott Brown, President
Computer Sales & Service
Spoon River College
Erin Orwig
2500 East Jackson
Community Outreach/Continuing Education/Business
Wesley Village
Keegan Nesbit, Dietary Director
1307 Meadow Lark Lane
Western Illinois Home Health Care
Joel Newman, Director of Business Development
2 Industrial Park Road Monmouth, IL
309-734-9376 ext. 2112
Sales, finance, management, social work, nursing
Western Illinois Museum
Sue Scott, Director
201 S. Lafayette Street

Contact Info

Transitional Programs - Career Development
Memorial Hall Lower Level
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455

Phone: (309) 298-1838