University of Pittsburgh

Informational Interviews

Informational interviewing is a useful networking activity and a valuable career development tool. This is the process of meeting with practitioners to gain information about career choices and the job search process. These informational meetings are distinct from interviewing for an existing job.

Every year, the CSO career counselors tell students to schedule informational interviews if they are interested in an area of practice or a non-traditional field that they do not know much about.  Every year there are some students who go out and try it, but there are many others who resist this path and consider informational interviewing only as a last resort.  It is, of course, more difficult to cold call a stranger or a friend of a friend to gather information than it is to draft cover letters and let those resumes float anonymously out into the world.

Why engage in informational interviewing?
  1. There is less rejection involved than in a mass mailing.  Even in a field where jobs are scarce, information is not scarce, and many people approached for an informational interview are willing to spend the time to introduce you to their career.
  2. It is a chance to learn about additional resources you can use and organizations you can join to help you in your chosen career.
  3. When it comes time for you to write cover letters and to apply for jobs, you will be able to do this more effectively:  when you indicate an interest in health care law or in IP you can be more convincing about your genuine interest if you do so with a knowledge of what is actually involved in that career.
  4. It can help you learn that you are not actually interested in what you thought you were.
Guide to Informational Interviewing


Revised 09/28/2011 | Copyright 2011 | Site by UMC