Informational Interviewing: A Networking Tool
Regardless of your student’s year in school, informational interviewing is an effective method for exploring career options and for networking to secure a job after graduation.
Informational interviewing doesn’t mean asking for a job or cold-calling executives. Instead, an informational interview is designed to allow a student to seek information and advice about a job, industry, or organization from someone working in the field.
You can help your student to pursue informational interviewing. We recommend that students start with people they already know, such as friends, relatives, former or present co-workers, and supervisors. Sharing your professional contacts with your student is a great starting point. Once your student has arranged an informational interview (we suggest that students keep interviews to 20–30 minutes), you can help prepare a list of questions your student can ask at the interview.
First impressions do count, so remind your student that professional attire is appropriate. Your student should arrive for the scheduled interview 10 minutes early. Tell your student that he or she should be prepared to answer questions such as: Why are you interested in this kind of work? What interests you about this industry or organization?
Lastly, after the informational interview, your student should follow up by thanking the professional via e-mail or a letter.
— Kristina Vack and Jennifer Buelow,
College of Letters & Science Career Services