The Holidays are a great time for informational interviews. Here is the challenging part: you have to ask for them.
If you meet someone at a party or event, don't be afraid to ask. "Your career (or company) sounds very interesting. Do you have time this week to grab a cup of coffee and tell me more about what you do?"
Tips for meeting people over coffee
Make it convenient for that person. Scout out coffee locations near the person's office.
Whoever does the inviting pays. If you invite someone to coffee, allow that person to order first, then place your order and pay the bill. (Or ideally, offer to go to that person's workplace.)
Don't distract from your meeting by dumping a lot of cream and sugar in your coffee. It's coffee -- not "hot ice cream."
Give a time limit in advance: "Could we meet for 20-30 minutes? I want to be respectful of your time."
Prepare: research the person's background and organization. Write out your questions in advance.
"Informational interview" means you are there to listen. Make sure you listen more than you talk.
Confirm the meeting either the night before or the day of by email.
Follow up with an email and a hand-written or type-written thank you note.
What are you waiting for? Get out there and mingle!