Developing Your Network: Informational Interviewing

  • They give you an opportunity to gather first-hand information (research) about career fields you are considering
  • They provide an opportunity to expand you network of professional contacts
  • You will get frank advice about a profession or industry and subtle signals about work environmentsthat you will never read in a book
  • Get valuable advice about entering and advancing in a field, as well as ideas for locating contacts or job leads within the profession


  1. Locate someone to interview within your organization. Get correct spelling and pronunciation of contact’s name and be sure of contact’s job title and salutation (Dr., Mr., Mrs., etc). **If you are currently interning, you may want to ask your supervisor for permission to conduct an informational interview. Once settled in as an intern, ask your supervisor for potential interviewees for your informational interviews. After you
    have started forging your own personal relationships within the organization, you will also acquire a sense of the individuals you would like to interview.
  2. Contact: Call for appointment or write a letter to request an appointment. Be sure to state the reason you are contacting them, how much time you are asking of them (20-30 minutes), why you would like to speak with them in particular (your interest in his or her career field), and how you may have come about their name. You can also request a telephone interview (if the person does not live nearby) or an observational visit that lasts a few hours or a full day.
  3. Scheduling: Be prepared to adjust your schedule. Suggest lunch, coffee break, etc. (When is it convenient for your contact to meet with you?)
  4. Confirm: Be sure you have agreed on the date and place of your meeting. A brief note of
    confirmation can serve as a helpful reminder to you both.
  5. Research: Research and read about the career field before the informational interview.
    Informational Interviews should not be a starting point for your career research – they should supplement what you have already learned. Also research your contact’s place of
  6. Preparation: Prepare a list of relevant questions (see following page). Prepare your resume and take a copy with you in case you are asked for it - but be aware that it may be inappropriate to offer it during your meeting. NOTE: Let the interviewee determine the formality of the conversation.
  7. Appearance & Arrival: Plan what you will wear, and how long it will take you to get there. Arrive 10-15 minutes early. This may give you a little extra interview time.
  8. Thank You: Ask for a business card before you leave and send a short note thanking the person for his/her time. Remember, these contacts can continue to serve as resources throughout your career.

For more information, visit