What is an Informational Interview?

The informational interview is an avenue candidates turn to for making critical decisions about their professional pursuits. They sit with an industry insider, career coach, or counselor and develop leads and information regarding career choices, industries or specific employers. This is a great option for students starting out, candidates trying to decide if a career change is their next move, or job seekers that want to know more about their options.

If you attend an informational interview, it’s going to be about what you want to know, not about what anyone wants to know about you. Go in prepared.

The Informational Interview

This is not a job interview. Do not assume the person offering you their valuable time will volunteer information. Plan an agenda so that you can target what you want to hear. Do not waste their time. Bring a resume, but don’t take it out unless someone asks for it. Be engaging and interesting. Ask about other resources that might help. Get business cards.

Know What You Want to Know

Research a position, company, or industry. Keep thorough notes on what obstacles block you from being the perfect candidate and ask the person you’re interviewing what you can do about them.

Begin Networking

Connect with people at the company, in the industry, or at a school. Go to job fairs, employment agencies, friends, and family. A huge part of networking is discovering who knows who and what. Make a list of parties that you would want to approach for an informational interview.

Start Shaking Hands

This is going to require perseverance, but start meeting people, getting business cards, and identifying yourself to all the right people. Some individuals may not be interested or too busy, but most people will be happy to give you 10 or 15 minutes of their time on the spot. If you have smart questions and show a positive attitude, this could lead to a more in-depth informational interview.

Graciously Send Out Thank-Yous

Send anyone that grants you an informational interview a note that shows appreciation for their time. And send it right away. You want to nurture these relationships. They could change your career path and are much more likely to do so if you make all the right moves.

The informational interview can definitely play a big part in getting that dream job. So can Resume Builder, a smart tool for building summaries, work histories, education and skill sets in all the right ways.

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