An Informational Interview is a meeting you arrange with someone in your field of interest. The purpose of the meeting is for you to ask questions and gather information and advice about the field.
To increase your awareness of professional opportunities and career fields, consider the following suggestions for devising strategies to speak with people whose jobs seem appealing to you:
PREPARE A PLAN
- Define your field of interest. Consider work environments, career areas, and positions in particular organizations.
- Determine the kind of information you want to obtain.
- Review the recruiting literature and other resources in the Career Library to get background information on a wide variety of organizations.
- Clarify your own interests and skills; create questions that can lead to information about how they relate to the jobs and career paths you are exploring. See sample Informational Interview Questions.
DEVELOP CONTACTS AND ARRANGE INTERVIEWS
Introduce yourself to networking contacts (through mail or phone) by stating a common connection (such as- Lehigh, for example). See sample Informational Interview e-mail.
- Set up a brief interview time (approx. 20 min)
- At the interview, ask questions which reflect what is most important to you.
- Take notes during or after the interview so that you can evaluate the information you receive.
- Respect the individual's busy schedule and don't overstay your welcome.
- Create a positive impression through prompt and effective communications.
- Write a letter expressing your appreciation for the person's time and consideration. Include details from the informational interview that you found especially interesting and useful.
EVALUATE AND ASSIMILATE
- Use the information you have gathered to help develop and refine your career interests/objectives. Be sure to maintain contact with your network. You never know where the relationships may lead!