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Preparing for an Informational Interview

Written by Christine Chelstrom, MJP Job Developer

An informational interview is a great way to learn more about a specific position, company, or field that interests you. It’s not a job interview where your objective is to be hired. But it is an opportunity to expand your professional network and gain firsthand knowledge about an individual’s career path and any advice they may offer about their company and industry.

Here's a step-by-step guide:

1. Find an occupation or industry you wish to learn about.

2. Identify people to interview using LinkedIn and your network.

An introduction could be:

Good morning! I’m exploring careers in the IT field. I would love to get advice from someone with your wisdom and firsthand experience. Do you have time in the next two weeks for an informational interview?

3. Schedule the interview and allow up to 30 minutes.

4. Research the position, company, and person you are meeting.

5. Create compelling questions. Some suggestions:

  • What did your journey look like to get where you are?

  • What is a day in your life at work?

  • What do you enjoy most about your work?

  • What is the biggest challenge you face?

  • What skills are most important in your role?

  • Do you like your job/company? Why or why not?

  • How does your company approach work/life balance and remote work?

  • What industry trends should I be aware of?

  • If you were in my shoes, which companies or people would you be talking with?

  • Can you connect me with three important people I need to know?

6. Make a good impression by dressing professionally and driving the conversation.

7. Send a handwritten note thanking the person for their time and expertise.

By taking these steps, you can boost your confidence to engage in conversation, actively listen, and ask intelligent questions. Those skills will catapult your career to the next level.

Always remember that you are worthy of a great life. Never give up your dreams!

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