Posted by Linsey Stripling, Career Services Assistant
If utilized, informational interviewing is one of the most valuable sources of occupational information. An Informational Interview is an informal conversation with someone working in your area of interest who will give you information and advice based on the questions you ask.
- Get first hand, relevant information about the realities of working within a particular field, industry or position.
- Find out about career paths that you might not have know existed
- Get tips about how to prepare for and enter a given career
- Improve your communication skills and confidence when it comes to speaking with professionals
- Initiate a professional relationship and expand your network of contacts in your career field of interest
- Learn how professionals have balanced work and their other life priorities
Six Steps for Informational Interviewing
1) Research Career Fields
- Do initial research on the career field or specific employer you are interested in
2) Identify people to interview
- Pursue your own contacts then branch out to organizations within your interest area
3) Prepare for the interview
- Develop as short (15-30 second) overview of yourself, including your reasons for contacting this person, as a way to introduce yourself and define the context of the meeting
4) Initiate contact
- Contact the person by phone, mention how you got their name and what it is exactly that you are looking for from them
5) Conduct the informational interview
- Be prepared, dress appropriately, arrive on time and be ready to direct the interview
6) Follow up
- Send a thank you not within 1-2 days to express your appreciations for the time and information they provided you.
Information interviews serve a great purpose – educate yourself about the field you are thinking about entering. Dress to ensure that you are serious about the industry and prepare properly. Also, make sure you have something to take notes. Remember the idea is to gain knowledge, so learn as much as you can. Thanks for the six step guide!