What is an Informational Interview?
What better way to find out about a field you are considering than to speak with someone who is working in the industry? Often times, the people who are currently in field have the most relevant and current information about the job that isn't available through reading and researching online. This is your opportunity to really find out the real "scoop" from an expert!
informational interview is a brief meeting with someone who is in a career or industry that you are considering. It is a chance to get first-hand information and advice that is specific to your interests and concerns. In addition to gaining knowledge about the field and career, you will meet professionals and begin to establish a network of contacts. As a student you will find that professionals are generally more willing to help and support your career development – they remember when they were students! The objective of an informational interview is not to find a job, but to gain information.
Sample Informational Interview Questions
- Do you have a college degree?
- Where did you go to school and what did you major in?
- What do you like/best worst about your job/work?
- What educational background in necessary for this job?
- What are the steps necessary to break into this field?
- What made you decide to pursue this profession?
- What is a typical day like for you?
- What are important skills needed for this job?
- What is the salary range for this occupation?
- What might I expect to earn in an entry level position in this career?
- What are some related occupations to your profession?
- What books/journals/associations would you suggest I explore for further information?
**DO NOT ask the person how much they specifically make**
Setting Up Your First Informational Interview
- Find someone to contact. It could be any person working in the field in which you're interested.
Contact the person and introduce yourself. Make sure you are professional.
- Sources to find people include:
- Social Media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat - slide into their DMs!)
- Linked-In (www.linkedin.com)
- Friends and family members (and their outer circles)
- Current and previous professors and instructors
- Professional Associations related to your occupation
- For a list of associations try looking at the
CA Career Cafe Association Database
- You can also Google
your career title + "professional association" +
your city, for example "nursing professional association Los Angeles"
Hi Mr. Smith,
My name is Pico Corsair and I am a student at Santa Monica College. I am very interested in finding out more about the field of ice-cream making. I wonder if I could speak with you for about 15 minutes and ask you a few questions. Would it be possible for me to speak with you on the phone or meet with you in person regarding how to become a professional ice-cream maker? I appreciate your time and consideration.
Prepare for your interview by creating a list of questions (see sample questions above). It is a good idea to come up with 5-7 questions to ask your interviewee.
At the end of the interview, ask for their business card or contact information so you can send them a Thank You note within 24 hours. This can either be via email or US mail. Make sure you do not text a thank you note.