Informational Interviews: Uncovering Hidden Opportunities

Whether you’re looking for your first job, considering a career change or looking to move up in your company, informational interviews are a powerful tool to explore careers, help you make decisions about your path forward  and expand your network of contacts. And for first-time job seekers, informational interviews offer a pressure-free opportunity to hone your interviewing skills and get feedback on your resume.

 So, what’s an informational interview look like?  Don’t let the word “ interview” mislead you. An informational interview is really just a conversation. It’s an opportunity to learn more about a job, career, company or industry you’re interested in. Richard Nelson Bolles, author of “What Color Is Your Parachute” and inventor of the term “informational interviewing” defines it as: “ talking to people who actually do what you think you’d like to do.”

 Here are some key tips to help you maximize the potential of this valuable career tool:

Identify your objectives for the interview

  • Learn what the job, industry is like

  • Find out what the individual enjoys and dislikes about the job

  • Determine what degrees, credentials are required or helpful for this job

  • Identify the various career paths people take to enter this field

  • Connect with others in this field who might be willing to talk to you

Prepare for your interview

  • Research the person you will be interviewing, as well as his or her field and organization

  • Prepare a resume just in case you’re asked for one

  • Practice talking about yourself and be able to articulate the position you are seeking

  • Develop a list of questions based on your objectives

Follow up steps

  • Send a hand-written thank-you note

  • Stay in touch through LinkedIn

What NOT to do in an informational interview

  • Ask for a job

  • Ask how much the job pays


The more you learn about a job, and what it takes to be successful in that field, the better prepared you will be when an opportunity presents itself to interview for a specific position. Take advantage of this effective tool to learn more about what career you want to pursue and enhance your potential as a job candidate