Informational Interviews Defined
Informational interviews are meetings with professionals where you ask them questions about their field and ask for advice on finding jobs or internships in the industry.
Finding Someone to Interview
There are a few ways to find someone to meet with. Start with your course instructors. Most faculty have industry contacts that they can connect you with and some instructors who work in industry would be great people to interview. Career and Internship Services can also teach you about other tools available to help you find a professional in your field. Schedule an appointment by calling 612-624-2710 to learn more.
Setting Up the Meeting
Call the professional contact and introduce yourself including your name, major and how you got his/her contact information. Ask if you may visit the person’s workplace for 30 minutes so you can ask about his/her position and get job search advice. You will be surprised how many people will gladly say yes to your request!
Making the Informational Interview Successful
Yes, you should dress professionally and arrive on time, but the most important part of this process is creating a thoughtful list of questions before you go. See our Informational Interviewing Handout (pdf) for some ideas of the types of questions to ask. Bring a copy of your resume as well and ask for feedback. This will lead to great tips on what skills you should develop and what things to highlight from your experience.
Stay in Touch
Be sure to stay in touch with the individual after the interview. Sending them a thank you note is an important first step, but also drop them an email roughly every two months to tell them how you have followed their suggestions or to ask a follow up question. Building relationships over time is key!