Career and Leadership Development

Informational Interview

The informational interview is a chance to spend time with someone who is a professional in the career field that is of interest to you. By talking with a professional in the field, you will be able to learn about the professional and get to know someone in the field for the purpose of networking. Most professionals a very willing to spend time talking with students about their experiences, and most professionals will share helpful advice about preparing for and securing employment in the field.

Helpful Hints:

  • It's important to prepare for the interview in advance in order to present yourself in a positive manner.
  • Identify a professional in the field that interests you (your Career Counselor can help you with this).
  • Learn as much as you can about the field and the organization for which this individual works, in order to ask thoughtful questions.
  • Contact the professional well in advance to request and informational interview.
  • Prepare for the interview by writing down questions you would like to ask the professional. Bring several copies of your resume with you to the interview. Make sure to arrive early.
  • Shake hands and introduce yourself with confidence. Keep the interview to the time you scheduled. When the agreed upon time is over, thank hands and thank the professional for his or her time.
  • After the interview, make sure to send the professional a thank you note within two days.

Types of Questions to Ask During an Informational Interview:

  • How did you begin in the field?
  • What is your educational background?
  • What qualifications are needed to be successful in your job?
  • What are your major responsibilities?
  • What do you like the most about your job? What do you like the least?
  • Could you describe a typical day on the job?
  • What is the typical salary range and benefits for an entry-level professional in your field?
  • What is the future outlook of this field?
  • In what ways are new professionals in the field least prepared to succeed?
  • Can you recommend others with whom I may talk?