Informational Interviewing

Be curiousInformational interviews are one of the best ways to explore career paths and expand your network. Unlike a job interview, the goal of an informational interview is primarily to gather information about a career path or organization, not get a job. Additionally, you are the one asking questions.

Four steps to the perfect informational interview

1. Identify your interview subject:

  •  Start with people with whom you're most comfortable (e.g., friends and family), even if they don’t work in an area that seems appealing to you initially; you may be surprised by what you learn.
  • They may also be able to connect you with someone who is familiar with your desired career field.

2. Ask for 20 minutes:

  • Most people have 20 minutes of spare time in their day for a conversation.
  • Ask “I’m looking for some advice and information – could you spare 20 minutes for me next week to talk about your career path?”

3. Prepare questions:

  • Take the time to think about what you’d really like to know about the individual’s career path.
  • You might ask about the person’s work background, education and training requirements, what a typical day is like, and whether they have any advice about entering this field.
  • Be sure to ask if they can recommend anyone else you might speak with regarding your career interests to keep your momentum going.

4. Stay in contact:

  • Send a handwritten thank you note to each person with whom you speak
  • Follow up on occasion and updated them on your career search.

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2009 National Chevron Award winner for excellence in career services —National Association of Colleges and Employers
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More than 360 organizations attended University Career Center career fairs the past academic year
More than 10,000 students attended University Career Center workshops in 2012-13