Choosing a Career: Setting Up Informational Interviews

Now that you have decided what career you would like to go into you need to get some insider information.  You do this by conducting informational interviews.  Informational interviews serve several purposes. 

  • They help you get specific information on companies you might want to work with.
  • They give you an in depth view of the career you are interested in. 
  • You get first hand experiences from people that are working in the career you are interested in.

How to Get an Informational Interview Set Up

The best way to get informational interviews is through people you already know.   This is where your network comes in handy.  Think of all the people you know.  Are any of them employed in the career you want to work in?  If not, do any of them work in an industry that employs people who are in the career you work in?  Chances are there is at least someone in your network that knows someone that works in the field you want to work in.  Start making phone calls and asking for references.

If no one you know can give you references then start making cold calls.  Write down the names of companies you would like to work for and the general phone number.  Then, call them and ask for the Human Resources department.  Tell them that you are interested in speaking to someone who works as a ________ in their company to get a better idea of what the job involves.  Promise them that you will not take up much of their time and ask if they can refer you to someone in the company.

Professionals often take time from their schedules to speak to interested people because it is a way of sharing their knowledge and giving back to the community.  If you are referred to someone simply ask if you could schedule a 15 minute meeting with them to ask a few questions.  If they cannot schedule a live meeting then ask if you could call back at a time that is convenient to them to ask your questions.  You may have to speak to a few people first, but you will likely have no problem setting up a couple of appointments.