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How to Successfully Navigate an Informational Interview

Whether you’re exploring a career path, job opportunity or post-undergraduate education, conducting an informational interview can be a great opportunity to get your questions and concerns answered. The idea is to reach out to someone in the field, company or school that you’re interested in and make a connection around your shared interest. The Bear Down Network makes it easy to connect with Wildcats who are willing to help. 

Here are three tips to rock your next informational interview. As a prerequisite, you’ll want to create an account on the Bear Down Network and then find a Wildcat you want to interview. View the steps for how to find someone on the Bear Down Network. 

1. Be courteous and concise.

Once you’ve found someone you want to speak with, your next step is to craft a message. It’s important to be respectful and to-the-point when requesting an informational interview. Introduce yourself and explain why you’re reaching out, then ask if they have time to meet in person or over the phone. Also, make sure to spell-check and review your message before pressing send. It may take some time to hear back, but that’s OK. Don’t be afraid to respectfully follow up. 

2. Take time to prepare questions.

Once your informational interview time is set, make sure you come prepared with at least 10 questions. It’s also helpful to prepare a short introduction or elevator pitch about yourself so the person you’re interviewing can learn a bit about you before you start asking them questions. When preparing, keep in mind how much time you scheduled for the informational interview. They can last anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour, so make sure to prepare enough questions and prioritize what you want to be answered first.  

3. Don’t forget to follow up.

Following the interview, be sure to always follow up with a written “thank you” note or email. This can go a long way because it shows you are grateful for the interviewee’s time and insights. 

 

Follow these best practices and remember to be yourself. You’ll be landing new opportunities and connections through the Bear Down Network in no time!