Strengthening Your Network with Informational Interviews
An informational interview is a brief (e.g. 30-minute) conversation with someone working at a company or industry you would like to learn more about. It’s a powerful tool for you to figure out if you’re interested in a specific career path, what it might take to get a job in that field, and what the everyday work and life might be like within it.
Another great benefit of informational interviewing is that you can strengthen your connection with a person through it. Alternatively, if this is the first time you are reaching out to them, every person you interview is a potential new member of your network.
How Can I Set One Up?
Setting up an informational interview is fairly straightforward. The first step is to identify someone in a company whose job sounds interesting to you and ask them if they would be willing to chat with you about their career.
It is often helpful to have some sort of connection or mutual acquaintance with the person to get things started. Examples of possible avenues for finding connections include:
- Alumni listings from your institution – ask faculty to introduce you or reach out yourself and mention the institution name!
- First or second degree connections through LinkedIn (a second-degree connection is a person connected to someone who is already in your network)
- Membership databases for professional societies or the APS IMPact Program
- Conferences and career fairs