Tips for Informational Interviewing

An informational interview is a conversation with a professional in a career field you would like to learn more about. It is not a job interview. The purpose is to develop contacts and gather information about a career field, job, or industry.

Consider the following ten tips for your informational interview:

  1. When setting up the meeting, say who you are and how you got the person’s name.
  2. Make it clear that you are not asking to be considered for a job; you are just asking for 20-30 minutes of their time to ask for career advice.
  3. Prepare a list of questions (see below).
  4. Dress appropriately (as you would for a job interview).
  5. Do not send a resumé in advance, but have a few copies ready to distribute.
  6. Prepare an opening statement about who you are and your interest in the career area.
  7. Be prepared to answer general questions about your career goals.
  8. Take notes during your meeting, as long as it does not interrupt communication between the two of you.
  9. Thank the person for his/her time and ask for a business card.
  10. Follow-up with a thank-you note to show your appreciation!

Sample questions you might consider:

  • Can you describe how and why you chose this field?
  • What do you find the most challenging?
  • What are the skills and qualities you feel are important to succeed in this kind of work?
  • What academic major, training and/or other preparation would you recommend?
  • Can you describe a typical day or week at your job?
  • What do you like the most about your job? the least?
  • Are there other people you could suggest I might contact?

Other sample questions available at:

Visit Counseling Services (room U267) for assistance with resumés, interviewing, career guidance, and occupational information.


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