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Information Interviews

Information interviews offer valuable career advice and insights through informal conversations with someone about their career or organisation.

Building your network

Information interviews are a great opportunity to build your network and find out more about a career or organisation. The main purpose of an information interview is to gain advice and support, not to ask for a job.

Finding contacts

There are a number of ways you can find contacts.

  • Start with people you know, or friends of friends.
  • Use social media. The LinkedIn Find Alumni tool, can be particularly useful.
  • Attend events such as employer presentations and recruitment fairs, in your school and on campus. Ask questions after the presentation and grab the chance to take their details and get in touch.
  • Check the websites of professional associations. They often have member directories where you can find potential contacts. If you’re a student or associate member of a professional body, you may also be able to attend industry events. Find links to professional associations on our Explore Occupations pages.

Plan your meeting

Before you connect, plan your meeting to give structure and focus. If you don't know what you want, a meeting can turn into a chat and end up being an unproductive experience.

For example, the focus of a meeting could be on:

  • finding out more about careers and opportunities in that sector
  • getting advice on your job search, applications and interviews
  • opportunities for work shadowing or work experience
  • looking for new contacts to add to your network

Do your research and find out about the organisation in advance. One of the best ways to make them interested in you is to show that you are interested in them.

Making contact

Getting in touch with someone can feel daunting at first. Here's some advice to help you get started.

  • If you're going through a friend or family member, ask them to let their contact know that you'll be getting in touch.
  • Try to phone or email to ask for a short meeting (face-to-face, telephone, Zoom). About 20 to 30 minutes should be enough, but they may give you more time if things go well.
  • Introduce yourself and say how you got their details. Be clear about why you want to talk to them.
  • Never ask for a job or an interview. This can put the person in an awkward position and you want your contacts to feel good about being able to help you.
  • Focus on them, not yourself. Explain why you want to talk to them in particular, for example you value their insight.
  • Send a copy of your CV or link to your LinkedIn profile, to give them some background knowledge about you.
  • After the meeting, thank them in writing for their time.
  • Aim to leave with one or two more names to help build your network. Be clear about what any new contacts can offer you in terms of expertise.

Questions to ask

It's always good to ask questions when you meet contacts. What do you want to find out? What's important to you?

To help you get started, here are some questions you could ask:

After the meeting

Reflect on the interview, what you have learned and how it might affect your career decisions.

Send a brief thank you note to everyone who helped you.

Stay in touch. Update your contacts on your progress. Let them know what actions you've taken, what jobs you're looking at and anything they said or did that helped you. This will help them remember you and let them know that the time they spent on you was worthwhile.