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Informational Interviews

An informational interview is a 15-30 minute meeting with the purpose of learning more about an occupation, industry, company, or other career-related information. It is an exploratory conversation in which you identify whom to interview, prepare questions to ask, evaluate the information you have gathered, and follow up with the person accordingly. You can reach out to anyone for an informational interview, including alumni, executives, supervisors, mentors, or friends. Keep in mind that it is designed to be a learning experience and NOT a solicitation for a job or internship.

Share Your Road connects people who are looking for future paths with professionals who've found theirs. Sit down with a leader to hear their journey and turn your conversation into a story others can learn from.

Benefits of Informational Interviewing

  • Discover new careers
  • Provide direction in choosing a career path or preparing for a career change with firsthand, insider information
  • Assess your compatibility with a particular career
  • Uncover your professional strengths and weaknesses
  • Revise your resume to better fit the specific industry or career field
  • Offer insight to guide future job searches
  • Improve your interviewing skills
  • Expand your professional network

Guidelines for Informational Interviewing

  • Once you’ve found a networking contact, you need to reach out to them to schedule an informational interview. When contacting someone for an interview, introduce who you are, why you are interested in speaking with him or her, and your degree of connection (e.g., fellow Wave with a similar academic major).
  • Here are a few sample messages you could use when it’s time to connect with a networking contact. Make sure you include a specific question or two in the email so the contact understands what you want to discuss as well as your contact information.
    • Sample Email/LinkedIn Message: Initial Contact, General Purpose:
      • Subject: Pepperdine Student Requests Informational Interview

        Good morning Jason,

        I got your email address after reading your profile on the Pepperdine Alumni Network website earlier today. I am a junior, about halfway done with my degree in Biology. I’m interested in learning more about your lab work and am looking for advice on the best ways to prepare for my own job search. Would you be willing to take a look at my resume and tell me how you got started with your career planning in order to guide my own planning? I look very forward to hearing from you.

        Thank you,

        Willy T. Wave 

    • Sample Email/LinkedIn Message: Initial Email, Company Interest:
      • Subject: Pepperdine Student Seeking Information about [Company]

        Dear Maria,

        I received your name from the Seaver College Career Center. I am nearly complete with my degree in International Business and have concentrated on corporate strategy and marketing. I understand that you play such a role at [Company]. I would like to learn about your experience, and perhaps any pointers you might have on how to best position my resume to appeal to a hiring manager. If you can accommodate my request, I can share my resume as a further introduction. I am occasionally in the west suburbs and would welcome the chance to meet for coffee.

        Kind Regards,

        Willy T. Wave 

    • Sample LinkedIn Connection Request:
      • Hi [name],

        My name is [name]. I see that you also graduated from Pepperdine, go Waves! I’m an IMC major and would be excited to hear more about your work with [Company. I'd love to learn about your work experience on how you ended up at [Company]. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

  • Prepare a list of informed questions by researching the career field, industry, and organization.
  • Polish your resume in advance and be prepared to provide a copy if asked.
  • Maintain a professional presence during the meeting and take notes.
  • Be ready to share some of your own interests, experiences, and career goals; try to find something you have in common with the person.
  • Follow up by sending a thank you note.
  • Stay in touch with your contacts by maintaining correspondence and updating them on your progress.
  • Refer to our Ultimate Guide to Informational Interviews for additional guidance on informational interviews.