What is an informational interview?
An informational interview is a meeting to learn about the real-life experience of someone working in a field or company that interests you.
YOU contact someone in a field or company you're interested in, YOU set up a meeting, and YOU ask the questions!
Remember: It's not a job interview, so it's important to keep focused on getting information, not a job offer.
How do I set up an informational interview?
Make contact. Either call or e-mail to make contact. The introduction could be: "Mrs. Smith, Brad Johnson suggested I speak with you. My name is Steven Olson and I am interested in the ________ field. I could use advice from someone who is in this field. Do you have time in the next two weeks to meet for about 20 minutes? I would really like to learn more about your company and the ________ field from someone like you."
Hold the meeting. After introductions, give a brief summary of your career goal, or what you want to learn from them. Prepare plenty of questions to make good use of the time. Respect their time.
Sample questions include:
- What is a typical day like in your job?
- What do you like most / least about this career?
- Is your job typical of others in this field?
- What are current job prospects like?
- Are there related fields I might want to look into?
- What makes a resume impressive in your field?
- Is my resume appropriate for this occupation?
- How do you stay current in your knowledge?
What are employers looking for in this career (skills, education, experience)?
LinkedIn can be a great source for where to find prospective candidates for informational interviews. Explore your LinkedIn network members in your account and reach out to the ones you think are the best fit for the questions you want to ask. Set up an appointment at Career Services or come in to a walk-in visit to get help if you need it!