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An informational interview is a brief meeting with someone who works in a field or at an organization that you find intriguing and want to learn more about. The informational interview is not an actual job interview. In fact, the roles are reversed and you get to ask the questions and run the discussion.
In an information interview, you can:
Call or email the individual you want to speak with and let them know that you’d like to schedule an informational interview. Stress that you are not asking for a job, but simply gathering information and trying to learn about a particular field or line of work. Ask for 20 to 30 minutes.
Spend some time thinking about what you’d like to learn from the conversation. Write down the questions you plan to ask and the topics you’d like to discuss.
Remember, you are not being interviewed, so relax and enjoy the conversation. Do your best listening. Feel free to take notes.
Stick to the agenda and honor the timeframe. If you said a half hour, end on time. You can always set up another meeting down the road. Also, there will be a strong temptation, especially if the conversation goes well, to ask about job openings. Don’t do it! Asking will torpedo the entire meeting and make you look desperate. If they bring it up, fine.
Thank the person profusely for their time and information. Follow up by sending a thank-you note.