Career Development

Informational Interviewing

It is connecting with people who work in the field that you have an interest in. It is not a job interview nor is it simply asking someone if they know about any openings for you. Talking with the working professional is #1 way to learn about a field, discover career paths you didn't know about, and get the inside scoop.

How do I find people to meet with?

Start with your existing network of family, friends, professors, colleagues, and classmates. Explain to those in your network what your career goal is and then ask them if they know anyone who is working in that field. You may find others through the following places:

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Online Groups
  • Professional Organizations
  • Conferences
  • Mixers
  • Networking Event

How do I set-up an informational interview?

As you collect contact information (name, job title, email, and phone number) from individuals from your network. The initial contact should be a phone call because an email can be easily get lost. Plus, your enthusiasm is conveyed more directly over the phone.

Tell your contact who referred you and that you are looking to make an appointment to chat with them for 15-20 minutes about their work and their career.

Plan for your meeting by doing some research on your contact's organization. Be ready to articulate your background and your goals. Have questions ready to ask.

What questions should I ask?

  • How did you get started in this field?
  • What is a typical day like for you?
  • How does a typical career path look in your field?
  • What professional organizations, magazines, or on-line groups can you recommend for me?
  • What other strategies can you suggest for me?
  • What did you study in college?
  • What additional training or certifications have you completed?
  • What are your challenges in this job?
  • What are some current trends in your field?
  • Can I connect with you on LinkedIn?
  • Can I email you a copy of my resume?
  • What other people do you suggest I talk to?

Dress professionally in-person, virtual, and over the phone meetings

Listen attentively and show your interest in this person's story,

Take notes and make sure to say thank you.