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VCU Career Services

Strategic Enrollment Management and Student Success

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  2. Informational interviews

Informational interviews

An informational interview is a professional development tool you can use to learn more about a particular career. In this type of interview, you direct the questions to a person of your choice who is doing work in a field or industry that interests you.

Informational interviews allow you to learn from another person’s career path, discover how they gained experience in the field, and learn the strategies and advice they have for someone entering the field today.

Locating people to interview

Arranging the informational interview

Sample email or phone script for requesting an informational interview

Hello Ms. Havoc,

I am Roberto Ram and a junior at VCU studying -------.

My career goal is to work as a ----------------- after graduation. I am learning from others as I prepare to enter the field. I am seeking to gain insight from your experience that may help me take advantage of opportunities with my coursework, internships and professional associations. Would you have 20-30 minutes to meet with me at your convenience? My best dates and times over the next weeks are: 

Hello Mr. Havoc,

I am Rita Ram and a junior at VCU studying ---------. I am exploring careers in ---------  and gathering information on the industry and career paths from people currently working in the field. By talking with you about your career, I hope to further understand how others developed their talents, interests and skills. Would you have 20-30 minutes to meet with me at your convenience? My best dates and times over the next weeks are: 

Sample questions

Questions about their career story

Questions about their preparation for their career path

Questions about their current work

Questions about their organization

Questions about the industry

Questions about the field’s professional identity

Closing question

If you receive a contact or two, the person is opening up their professional network. Please respect and acknowledge that they trust you will be professional as you proceed with this network information. Secure the correct spelling of the contact(s), title, company and email. 

Closing and follow-up

At the close of the interview, thank them for their time. Exchange business cards.

Also, send a thank you via email and in a personal handwritten note. In the thank you email, let them know you found their guidance very useful and that you will keep them informed as you contact others and progress through the informational interview process.

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