Informational interviews can assist you to decide whether the role in question is really a good career choice for you and to gain valuable tips and industry insights. They can be a valuable way to build your network.
How do I identify someone to interview?
Use your existing network including family, friends, colleagues and lecturers; use LinkedIn – find someone via the Alumni tool or LinkedIn app; Attend networking events including workshops and conferences for your industry
How do I initiate contact and request an interview?
Contact the person via phone or send an email request. Ensure to introduce yourself and be clear about who you are and why you want to meet. Suggest some possible times to meet within your phone call or email.
How do I prepare for an informational interview?
Do prior research and prepare a list of open-ended questions- these often start with ‘how’, ‘why’ or ‘what’
What do I discuss during the informational interview?
Treat the interview as more of a conversation and remember the interview is for information gathering – ask what you want to know. (but don’t ask for a job!). Bring some prepared questions. Start by asking about what the interviewee does and what their pathway has been. Finish by asking for tips to help you get into this industry, and names of other people who you could talk to. Stick to the allocated time frame – aim to keep your interview between 20-30 minutes.
Here is an example of a script you could use to initiate contact with someone.
Hi, my name is … I am studying History at La Trobe University. I found you through LinkedIn and saw that you are working in an area that I am interested in. I’d like to ask you a few questions about your career as a historian. Are you able to assist?”
After the interview
Send a thank you letter or email. Reflect on what was said during the interview. Connect with the interviewee on Linked In and keep in touch, as they are now part of your professional network.