Informational Interviewing: Unlock What's Possible

Whether you have known exactly what you want to do since you were younger or are still searching for a career path that is right for you, informational interviewing can be a great way to find out more about a potential career, position, or company. An informational interview is the perfect way to unlock what is possible with very low stakes.

As the interviewer, you will facilitate a conversation between yourself and a person in a career path or position that interests or intrigues you. For example, maybe you have an interest in pursing a career in occupational safety but are unsure if it is the right path for you. After meeting with your Career Services Program Manager, where they showed you how to navigate LinkedIn and Handshake, you find an alumnus that works in occupational safety and want to learn more about their role. If it is on LinkedIn, start by connecting and sending a brief message to introduce yourself and begin the conversation. From there you can schedule an informational interview with them.

During the interview ask questions about their job, specific education, experience level and skills needed for the role, challenges and interesting aspects of the position, companies to consider, and any other questions about the industry, career path or position. At the conclusion of the interview, remember to keep lines of communication open by following-up and asking the professional to review your resume, what are areas to focus on, or who is another person you can connect with in the field?

This is an excellent way to build your network and strengthen your networking skills. By beginning a networking relationship with professionals in the industry through informational interviews, they get to know you and your interests and skills better and will feel more comfortable recommending you for future internship or job openings.

Not sure where to start? Visit the Career Services Office and speak to your program manager; they may have contacts where you can begin your journey. Reach out to professors and other administrators on campus. They are excellent people to start building your professional network with or to interview if they have connections to your field of interest.

For more information on this topic visit the Career Services Office website for Informational Interviewing.