Remember, the goal in making contacts and having a discussion is to gain information – information that helps you make decisions about the possible directions for your career.  People like to talk about their job, their personal story and their views of the industry and its future.  Your role during this discussion is to listen, listening for ways that you could be a solution.  Here are some questions that are good ones to ask: 

  1. How did you become interested in this work and how did you get started?
  2. What are some of the things you like best and are most satisfying about your work?
  3. Are you optimistic about your field/occupation and what do you see for the future?
  4. What do you think the industry or department needs most in order to achieve the greatest results?
  5. What do you think are the most important skills or competencies to be successful in your field?
  6. Do you have any additional advice for me and what other great people should I talk to?

 You probably will think of your own questions to add to this list.  Be genuine in your discussion, asking questions that you are truly interested in. 

 Be sure and thank your contact and invite the opportunity to tap their wisdom again.  Have fun with this process and focus on how the information can inform your career path options.