What is Informational Interviewing?
An informational interview involves talking with people who are currently working in the field to gain a better understanding of an occupation or industry -- and to build a network of contacts in that field. It is an informal way for you to learn about company culture, day to day tasks of a job, and career paths.
How to Schedule an Informational Interview
Do your research, think about what you want to learn by asking for an informational interview.
Use your network to schedule an informational interview; alumni, friends or family are a good way to start.
You can call, email, or write a letter to request an informational interview. Ask for 20 minutes of their time and remember you are not asking for a job, just information!
Sample: Hello, my name is Jon and I am a sophomore at UW Bothell majoring in Business, I found your name and contact information on the Husky Career Network. I am exploring a career path in your area of expertise and was wondering if you had 20 minutes to talk to me about your job as a financial analyst. I would like to learn more about your job, career path, company, and the future of the industry as you see it.
During the Interview
Come with a list of questions you want answered.
Introduce yourself with your Elevator Speech.
Do some research on the company, industry, and career field.
What to bring with you: Your resume, a pen, and a paper for taking notes.
Dress appropriately, make a good first impression. You never know where your interview may lead.
Stick to the time you requested. If you asked for 20 minutes, don't take more than 20 minutes.
Practice active and attentive listening.
Ask for referrals, this is how you build your network and conduct more informational interviews.
If time permits, ask the interviewer to review your resume - this is an added bonus to an informational interview.
After the Interview
Be sure to send a thank you note. Thank the person for their time, information, and insight.
Conduct more than one informational interview; everyone you talk to will have a different opinion, ideas, insight, and contacts for further networking.