I n f o r m a t i o... Career Development FYI

Claremont Graduate University
Informational Interviews
The best way to learn about a career is to ask people in that career.
Structured informational interviews can get you the information
you need to determine if a particular job is the right career choice
for you!
Setting up an Informational Interview
Write a brief email introducing yourself and asking for an opportunity to learn from his/her
expertise and ask for a time you can call to set up a meeting.
Be clear that you aren't asking for a job, you are just trying to learn about different career options
These interviews are much more effective when conducted face to face rather than over the
phone, so try to meet in person.
Tips on Getting to the Right Person
Determine the industry, company, and
job titles/positions you want to explore.
Reach out to people you know to see if
they can help you connect to the people
you need.
Use LinkedIn to research people who
work in your company of interest.
Join a professional association in the
career field you wish to enter
Structure of an Informational Interview
Introduce yourself.
Explain your goal.
Briefly describe your background.
Ask general questions that allow the interviewee
to be the expert.
Ask questions about how to enter the field,
discover if there are any roadblocks.
Ask for referrals. "Who else should I speak to?"
Thank them for their time and help.
Preparing for the Interview
Identify people in the job you want, or think you want. Use friends, family, alumni, professors'
friends of friends, etc. or use the following resources: Claremont Alumni database, LinkedIn,
Facebook, networking groups, disciplinary professional organizations.
Research the contact's career field and organization.
Ask open-ended questions, allow your contact to be the expert.
Bring your CV or resume and ask for feedback.
Ask for referrals.
Keep meetings to 30 minutes maximum, unless they volunteer more time. Keep phone meetings
to 15 minutes.
Thank them, send a thank you note--both email and snail mail.
NEVER ask for a job.
Useful Questions
Evaluate the Interview
What attracted you to the field? How did
you get into it?
What are your primary responsibilities in
your job?
What personal attributes, skills, and
qualifications are needed to succeed in this
What experiences would provide me the
skills I need for this job?
What trends and opportunities do you see
What are the rewards and challenges in your
What challenges do you think I might face
since I have a Ph.D.?
What is the salary range for this position?
What advice can you give me about how to
search for positions like this?
What advice would you give someone
entering the field?
What relevant professional organization
should I join?
What things impress you and turn you off
when interviewing candidates?
Does this position use the skills I want to use?
Do I have the skills required for this job?
Do I have a clear idea of what the job requires?
Would I enjoy working for this company?
What other related positions did I learn
Do I know the salary range for positions like
Send an email and snail mail thank you note.
Stay in touch with your contacts and
provide periodic updates.
Seek ways to connect these people to
others you meet as a way to build up your
Final Advice
Attend an Informational Interview workshop--see CDO calendar for time & place
Visit the Career Development Office for more information
Visit cgu-csm.symplicity.com/students/ to request an appointment
Stop by the Student Success Center to see us!!
131 E. 10th St. Claremont, CA 91711 (909)621-8177