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Using Information Interviews and Shadowing to Find Your Career

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.

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

1st Farm Credit Services                                                                                                               

Mr. Scott Clauson

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

Kristin Terry, Regional Marketing Coordinator

Macomb, IL  & Canton, IL

P: ( 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 or Jim Starnes


Facilities, IT, Transportation, Purchasing


Century 21

Lorraine Epperson

119 North Randolph


Real Estate Sales




Coca-Cola of Macomb

Mr. John Adolphson

219 S Johnson St.


Supply Chain/Logistics

The Computer Source

Jeff Husband
717 W.Jackson St  Ste B


Edward Jones

John White, Financial Advisor

1750 W. Jackson


Finance majors


Macomb Area Convention Visitors Bureau

Jan Armstrong

201 S. Lafayette

RPTA, event planning, hospitality


Magnolia’s Restaurant & Catering

Ms. Lisa Ward

130 N Lafayette


Restaurant/Catering Management


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

Susan Spier, HR Manager


Management Supply Management, HR, Engineering, or IT



James Pumo

19 East Side Square




Mr. Scott Brown, President


Computer Sales & Service


Western Illinois Home Health Care

Joel Newman, Director of Business Development

2 Industrial Park Road  Monmouth, IL

Phone: 309-734-9376 ext. 2112

Sales, finance, management, social work, nursing


Western Illinois Museum

Sue Scott, Director

201 S. Lafayette Street




WIU Alumni Association

Amanda Shoemaker, Associate Director


Communication, RPTA, Journalism, Event Planning, Public Relations, Student Affairs


WIU Athletics Marketing

Kelsey Homewood, Director of Athletics Marketing

103 Western Hall

(309) 298-1190

Tickets and corporate sales, radio, television, advertising, promotions, and marketing