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Steps for Conducting an Informational Interview.

Talking with people about their careers, or "information interviewing," is one of the most powerful ways to learn about a career. After you've taken a career assessment, researched and narrowed down your options, you're ready to talk with professionals in those careers to discover even more. Here's how it works - Simply follow the 5 steps listed below.

Step 1: Do Your Homework

Get the most from the interview by having researched careers and company web sites before your interview. 

Use these excellent tools on our web site:

Step 2: Find a Professional

Contact friends, family, faculty, and classmates asking if they know anyone who works in the field of _______________. If you are having difficulty finding a professional in your field of interest, please contact the Career Development Center for help.

Step 3: Contact the Professional

Email, write, or call to request a meeting. “I am a student at IU Southeast trying to decide my major. I am very interested in the field of ______________. I received your name from ______________. Would you be willing to meet with me briefly in the next few weeks to talk with me about your job and your career path?”

Step 4: Conduct the Interview & Ask for Referrals

What do you want to know? Prepare your questions in advance. You may want to seek confirmation from your research. Dress professionally – dress pants and a jacket are a must.

  1. What do you do on a typical day?
  2. What did you major in and would you do anything differently?
  3. What training or education is required?
  4. Is a graduate degree recommended?
  5. If you could change one thing about your job, what would it be?
  6. What do you love about your job?
  7. What don’t you like about your job?
  8. Does your company have an internship program?
  9. What do you look for in a job applicant?
  10. What starting salary range would be typical for new college graduates?
  11. What future earning potential might be typical in this industry?
  12. What advice would you give to a student preparing for this field?
  13. What part-time jobs or community service work would be a good fit?
  14. How important are extracurricular activities when hiring graduates?
  15. Is there someone else in the field you might suggest I speak with?

Step 5: Show Your Appreciation

Informational interviewing can have both short-term and long-term benefits. In the short term, you gain information and insights that can help you focus your career direction. In the long term, you may establish an important contact for future employment. Send a thank-you note within 24 hours mentioning how the talk helped you and what suggestions you plan to implement. Also, from time to time, let the individual know of your progress and keep his or her name on file. If at some point you desire employment with the organization, send your resume with a cover letter detailing why you were impressed with the firm and how your skills can meet their needs.

The following is an example of a typed thank-you letter to an accountant:

Your street address
Your city, state and zip
Current Date

Ms. Gloria Smith
ABC Accounting Firm
1234 State Street
New Albany, IN 47150

Dear Ms. Smith:

Thank you for meeting with me last Tuesday to share your insights on the accounting field. Our discussion was most helpful and has confirmed my interest in pursuing an accounting degree at IU Southeast. I will definitely join the Accounting Club and look forward to interviewing with you on campus for an internship position next fall. The information you shared has been of great value to me. As you requested, I will let you know of my progress.

Again, I deeply appreciate your time and helpful suggestions.


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