An informational interview can serve to build your base of networking contacts and allow you to conduct research on your academic major and identify potential career options. Approach these professional opportunities with the following points in mind:
- Conduct research: Learn what you can about their educational background, areas of specialty, past careers or sources of inspiration.
- Seek a conversation: Let your contact know how you identified them and humbly state you are seeking career information and would like to know more about the career. Ask for a short time limit (“would you have time for a 15 minute conversation?”)
- Ask for referrals: At the end, ask to remain in contact. Ask your contact if there are other colleagues you can connect with to learn more about the field. Be sure to express your gratitude after the meeting and follow up with a thank-you note or email.
Consider asking the following questions to start a conversation:
- Can you tell me about your career path and how you got here?
- What do you do in a typical day?
- Who was your mentor in this field?
- What aspects of this job do you like or dislike?
- Would you recommend any specific courses to take?
- Are there any additional certifications or training you would recommend?