How to Do an Informational Interview
An informational interview gives job seekers the opportunity to both network and gain valuable information about an occupation/industry they may be interested in. By talking to a professional, you’ll be able to get a better idea of a specific career or company. While this tool is not meant to directly ask for a job, it may open up opportunities for you in the future.
There are many factors to consider when planning an informational interview. When deciding who to reach out to for an informational interview, make sure to first do some research about a specific industry/profession to get a better sense of what exactly you’re looking for. By doing this, you’ll be able to set a specific learning goal, which will allow you to get the most out of the informational interview. From there, you can use LinkedIn as a resource to find SCU Alumni and other professionals to contact in the industry/profession that you researched. It’s recommended to start with people you may already know or have a connection with, and then expand your network by possibly asking that professional to connect you with others.
When contacting them, communicate the goal that you set in the research process and why having an informational interview with this specific person matters to you. Ways to reach out to the professional include emailing them or sending them a message on LinkedIn. If you’re calling them, make sure to have a 20-30 second speech prepared about your background, your goal, and why you’re contacting that person in particular. Ideally the interviews would take place in person, however a phone or video interview may be a better option in certain cases.
Once you have an informational interview planned, make sure to prepare. Have your questions ready, along with an idea of where you want the conversation to go. Remember, an informational interview is still an interview and should be taken just as seriously. Dress appropriately and arrive early. Be respectful of the other person’s time. After the interview is over, remember to follow up with a thank you note.