An informational interview is an informal conversation with the goal of gathering information and advice, not applying for a job or internship. They are most helpful for learning about career paths and building your network. Informational interviews do not typically lead to immediate job opportunities, but do help you develop connections that can prove valuable later.
Benefits of Informational Interviews
Informational interviews will help you:
- Get firsthand, relevant information about the realities of working within a particular organization, field, industry or position. This kind of information is not always available online.
- Find out about career paths you didn't know existed.
- Get tips and insider knowledge about how to prepare for and land your first career position.
- Initiate a professional relationship and expand your network of contacts in a specific career field; meet people who may forward job leads to you in the future.
Alumni are great sources for informational interviews. Review the Tools to Connect with Alumni page to learn more about opportunities to identify and contact alumni, including Career Chats and alumni profiles on Career Compass.
For tips on how to prepare to meet with alumni see the Five-Step Guide to Networking, which includes a section to help you brainstorm questions you can ask during informational interviews.