Interviewing an Expert
The best information on a specific career or career field comes from the people actually working in that field. An informational interview is an opportunity to gain first hand knowledge on a potential career and build your network. This is an informal conversation between you and someone working in an area you are interested in. Use an informational interview as an opportunity to learn what it might actually be like to work in this field and determine if it is a good path for you or not. Many students at UNI have successfully used an informational interview to gain access to internships and jobs!
How do Informational Interviews Work?
An informational interview is an informal, yet professional connection. Set aside time to prepare for the interview and the questions you want answered. If in-person, always bring a copy of your resume, dress up and be ready for the informational interview to turn into a job interview for you! An ideal informational interview is in-person, but a video call or even an email can be insightful.
Questions to Ask
Prepare for your informational interview by having questions that generate conversation and reflection. Bring a notepad so you can remember key concepts. If in-person, ask for a facility tour.
- What made you choose this career path? Would you select it again?
- What experiences have shaped your professional growth?
- What do you love about this job?
- What do you wish someone would have told you in preparing for this career?
- Share ideas about what student organizations would you recommend I participate in?
- If you could return to school today, what classes would you take?
- What tips do you have for me as I explore internships and jobs?
There are three steps to follow after an informational interview.
- Verbal. Thank the person at the end of your meeting. They took time out of their busy workday to speak with you.
- Written. Within two days, send a thank you email or note. Reference something very specific from the meeting
- Network. Periodically send a quick note of what has happened since your conversation.