The purpose of this exercise is to help you set-up and conduct an informational interview to learn more about a specific career field. This guide will then assist you in applying what you learn to help clarify your academic and career path.
An informational interview is a great way to talk directly with an experienced professional and gather information about an occupation of interest. These meetings are more beneficial than simply reading about an occupational area and provide the following benefits:
- Gather career information tailored to your specific career questions and concerns.
- Gain insider tips about getting jobs or internships in the field.
- Observe the work environment and see the different settings available for an occupation.
- Practice your communication and interviewing skills.
- Meet people in your field, which may develop into future job leads or networking opportunities.
- Begin by identifying two or three careers or career areas you are interested in learning more about. If you have completed the Strong Interest Inventory, you may have a few specific occupation titles listed on your results that you want to explore. You can also utilize career exploration websites to help you identify career fields that interest you. For guidance on using these sites, check out the "Explore Career Websites" Action Guide
- Before interviewing someone, it is important to consider what types of questions you would like to ask. You can get some ideas by watching this video of students interviewing leaders at Big Ideas Fest 2014. Take note of the types of preliminary and follow-up questions asked.
- How can you find people to interview? Start by thinking of people you already know, including family members, friends, neighbors, classmates, faculty and staff. Your college’s career center can be a great resource in finding a professional from a field of interest. Social media sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook can also be great resources for finding people to contact. See the "LinkedIn" Action Guide for tipes on how to get started using LinkedIn.
- Request an informational interview. Call or send an email to your contact requesting a brief interview.
- Conduct the interview(s).
- Document what you learn for review, future reflection, and sharing with your CAPE Coach if you are working with one.
Places to find informational interview contacts:
- Family members, friends, neighbors, classmates, faculty and staff.
- Your college's career center
- Maroon and Gold Network: maroonandgoldnetwork.umnalumni.org
- Carlson School Mentor Network (For Carlson Students only): umncarlson.peoplegrove.com
- LinkedIn: linkedin.com
For more guidance on how to find contacts, set up and conducting informational interviews, and more suggested questions to ask, check out CLA Career Services resource on informational interviews.
C3: Informational Interviews