Posted by Anne Lapour, Career CounselorInterview_1(1)

Have you ever found yourself wondering, I know there are jobs out there that may be perfect that I’ve never heard of.  How do I find them? Most people ask this at one time or another.  There are many ways to research occupations, but one of the most effective is:  Informational Interviewing.

What is “informational interviewing”, you ask?  An informational interview is an interview that you initiate with someone in a field that interests you.  You ask the questions, because the purpose is to obtain information.  This is one of the best sources for gathering information about what’s happening in an occupation or an industry, because you’re talking to people actually working in the field.  You get to interact with someone and have a dialogue—something you can’t do with a computer screen. Informational Interviews allow you to:

  • explore careers and clarify your career goal
  • discover employment opportunities that are not advertised
  • expand your professional network
  • build confidence for your job interviews
  • access the most up-to-date career information
  • identify your professional strengths and weaknesses

Informational interviews can teach you about those mysterious job descriptions you’ve never heard of, and give you insider information about your field of interest.  And best of all, they can teach you what kinds of experiences you’ll need to give yourself a leg-up in the job market during these tough economic times!

To conduct an informational interview, follow these steps:  1) Identify the occupation or industry you wish to learn about, 2) Identify People to Interview 3) Prepare for the interview, 4) Arrange the Interview, 5) Follow Up.

More questions?  Come to the Career Center and meet with one of our career counselors. 

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49 thoughts on “Informational Interviewing

  1. Very useful tips and lot’s of a good advice. Would you recommend to consult a coach or attend special training? Thank you.

  2. Coaching or special training isn’t necessary if you want to conduct an informational interview. It certainly can’t hurt, but mostly all you need is interest, the skills to interact professionally with someone, and lots of questions! Our website has some useful step-by-step tips for conducting an informational interview:

  3. All of these tips are sound tips that everyone should be paying attention to when they are trying to make a career decision, you have to ask yourself these type of questions.

  4. Very useful tips and lot’s of a good advice. Would you recommend to consult a coach or attend special training? Thank you

  5. Meeting with a career counselor or advisor can be really useful. I would also attend any workshops about resume writing, interviewing, job search strategies, etc. You can do all of these at Oregon State University if you are an OSU student or alum. For more information, go to our website.

  6. That is a great question and can be difficult to answer. Oftentimes the way to find out about jobs that you may not even know exist is to talk to people about your interests and skills and they may tell you about a job that would be a good match. You can also do some online research and there are books also on the topic. One blog that may be useful is resume bucket blog.

  7. Informational Interviewing is a new one for me. I only hope that those people you’re interested in are willing to be interviewed? But well worth looking into – thanks.

  8. Most people are very receptive. Occasionally you will get someone who is not interested or doesn’t respond to your request but I think you will be quite surprised how many people are willing to meet with you and share about their career.

  9. Wow….Your article is very interesting…..Your level of thinking is good and the clarity of writing is excellent…….I enjoyed so much to read this blog…..You expressed the things in simple way that very nice…..thnx for sharing with us……When i go for a interview i will def use this information….I hope to see more articles in the future……

  10. Very good and useful information. Why not write a book about this topic. For today’s economic fluctuation and lack of opportunities, it really will be a very hot topic.
    Thanks anyway.
    All the best

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  12. Informational Interview is quite a new term that I am hearing first time in your post. BTW the concept is very interesting and it could really help people before they are entering into their professional life. But I really have doubts if the people will be cent percent open to our questions.

  13. Thanks for the useful information and advice thought provoking

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  14. An impressive share. And he in fact bought me breakfast because I found it for him. Smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the treat! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love reading more on this topic. If possible, as you become expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more details? It is highly helpful for me. Big thumb up for this blog post!

  15. Great blog…Its really informative post to finding career in non academic …I totally agree with you and tim that blog is a great way to build a community …Thnx for sharing this post…I’ve bookmarked your blog will come back for a re-read again. Keep up the excellent work…

  16. Glad you found the post useful! I don’t think you need to necessarily consult a coach, if you are an OSU student or alum you are welcome to meet with a career counselor to go over any questions you may have about informational interviewing. There is also quite a bit of information on the OSU Career Services website or you could just do an online search about informational interviewing to get a lot of information.

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