Informational interviews are conversations with experienced professionals about their jobs, professional development, and career advice. They give you the opportunity to ask meaningful questions to individuals with the first-hand experience in the industries and companies you are interested in.
Why are informational interviews important?
It is helpful to learn from professionals who have gone through the process of finding a job and have experience working in your field of interest. They can be helpful resources as you begin planning your post-graduation life. Informational interviews may also give you insider information on tips, tricks, and guidance for obtaining your dream job. Instead of considering an informational interview as a way to secure a job offer, use it as a learning experience that may be a stepping stone in your career as you gather more information.
Who do you contact for informational interviews?
There are several ways to tap into your network to find people for informational interviews.
Option 1: Friends
If you know someone from childhood, high school, or college who has a job you find interesting, reach out! Talking to friends is the easiest and most comfortable way to have an informational interview. If you’ve never done one before, it might be helpful to start off talking with a friend about their job until you become comfortable with approaching someone you don’t know as well.
Option 2: Your College/Alumni Network
Many colleges and universities have online networks where alumni have opted to provide their personal contact information to students of their alma mater. Although it can be slightly nerve-wracking to email a stranger, most alumni are very open to talking with current students about their careers. At the very least, you are connected by the same school, which is a great way to start a conversation! Not sure what resources your campus offers? Contact your career center to find out what’s available.
Option 3: LinkedIn
Your online professional network can be another great resource to ask people about their jobs. Feel free to refer back to our previous LinkedIn blog post if you need tips on how to continue to build your stellar LinkedIn profile. Use your profile to connect with people from companies or organizations you are interested in and see if you can set up a time to speak with them.
Option 4: Networking Events
Attend events on campus or in your city that promote career development. Most college career centers will host events that bring together people from various industries to talk about their jobs. Use these opportunities to connect one-on-one. Many larger cities also provide networking groups in specific industries and interests. Consider joining one to meet new people and increase your exposure to the field.