An informational interview is simply a discussion with someone who works in an industry you're interested in or who works in a particular organization that you'd like to understand better. It could be as formal as an in-office appointment or as casual as a chat over a cup of Starbucks; there's no requisite meeting format. The particulars should be determined by the preferences of the individuals involved.
Participating in a number of informational interviews allows you to discover potential career trajectories or to align your career aspirations to a specific position title. It's also an easy way to practice interviewing skills without the nervousness and pressure of a formal interview and a great opportunity to make networking connections within an organization.
In his book, The 2-Hour Job Search, Steve Dalton, Senior Career Consultant and Associate Director at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, offers job seekers expert advice and practical guidance to being more effective and efficient in today’s dynamic job market. Dalton’s innovative approach to the job search has been shared at universities and colleges across the globe. Read more on Informational Interviewing in this downloadable PDF, shared with permission from the author.
The Art of the Informational Interview, Official LinkedIn Blog
Mastering the Informational Interview, The New York Times
Graduate Career Services also has a Pinterest Page where we have collected a wide variety of online content that may be of interest to graduate students. Check out the Interviewing board for more tips and advice!