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Informational Interviews

Another great way to network is to conduct an informational interview. An informational interview allows you to "interview" someone in your chosen major or profession, or a profession that you are considering. It can be conducted face to face, on the phone, or via email. The purpose of an informational interview is twofold: a) to find out more about the career in which you are considering, and b) to make contact with professionals who can offer information and possibly help you along the path of finding the right career for you.

Follow the steps below in order to complete a successful informational interview!

  • Make a list of people you know who have a connection to your line of work or area of interest.
  • Call or email each person on your list and suggest a brief meeting (15-30 minutes) in order to learn more about their line of work. Suggest a meeting (informational interview) at their place of employment or wherever is most convenient for them.
  • Be on time for the meeting and ask for information and suggestions, not a job. Be brief and respectful of the person's time.
  • Have good questions prepared. Be sure that you have researched the career, the company, and that person's position adequately before you arrive. This will help you ask better questions and appear more professional. These will help you get started:
    • How did you decide to go into this profession?
    • How did you get your position here?
    • What type of degree / training do you possess?
    • What do you like best and least about your job?
    • What are some of the challenges of your job?
    • What opportunities for advancement exist in this field?
    • What do you see as the future of this occupation?
  • Take your resume with you in case they ask to see it or to circulate it for you.
  • Close the meeting at the scheduled time.
  • Thank the person for their time. Ask for 2-3 other names of people in the profession. Be sure to ask the initial contact if you can use his/her name when you contact the names he/she gave you. Repeat the process above for each new contact.
  • Write the initial person a thank-you note immediately.
  • Be sure to follow-up on all leads and write thank-you notes to everyone who helps you.
  • Remember all you need is a nod of recognition to take your resume from the bottom of the pile to the top of the pile. If you don't have contacts now -- make them!

If you have any questions or concerns about networking or informational interviewing, contact the Career Center to set up an individual appointment with a career counselor.