image from comerecommended.com "What is your dream job? If you could have the career of any person, who’s would it be? Wouldn’t it be nice to talk to that person, and ask them how they got where they are?... Well, why don’t you?" This is what my 24-year old daughter, Hannah Bernstein, asked a friend of hers, based on her own experience doing interviews for the Facebook site, " Blue Sky Black Sheep ." Hannah was talking about a personal interview, done by you to get exactly the information that you need to make a career, educational, or investment move. Hannah's advice: "If what you really want to do is own your own business, or run a restaurant--it’s likely that those entrepreneurs haven’t been professionally interviewed. But you can still ask these people questions about their career. It’s called an ' informational interview '. It’s like a magic word. Pick out exactly who you’d like to talk to. If you’re looking to open up a restaurant in Los Angeles that serves meals at a $20-35 price point, that seats around 50 people, find a restaurant like that and find out who runs it. Then look up their email address (likely available on the company website) and get in touch. Explain that you have aspirations in that field, open with an expression of admiration of that person’s knowledge, and then ask if you can talk to them, either by phone or in person, about how they’ve achieved what they have in their profession." "I find that there are different conventions around informational interviews in different fields. When talking to someone in the business world, politics, or an administrative position, 'informational interview' is a thing that they’ll know about. You can directly ask for an informational interview, and they’ll say yes if they can. In less formal fields, like tech or entertainment, the convention is often to offer to buy someone coffee or a meal, so you can 'pick their brain' while you’re doing it." "People like to talk about themselves. When you tell someone that they’ve achieved something in their field-- enough so that you look up to them as an inspiration--they’re flattered. The worst that can happen is that they say 'no'." The possible positive outcomes are: a larger network for additional connections in a field that you like; the beginning of a mentor relationship that might lead to an internship or more; inside information about the downsides of a business that you hadn't considered; a better understanding about what is involved in a successful career path; a body of information that will help you to interview for jobs in that field, if experience is necessary first improving your business communication skills. If you have no experience as the "interviewer," check out the list of possible informational interview questions on About.com. Sources: " Informational Interview Questions ," About.com. " Blue Sky Black Sheep ," Facebook.com Follow up: Just do it. Interview someone who has a career you want. Take a digital recorder and a notebook, prepare some questions, and have some fun.