Once you’ve identified a professional who you want to connect with to learn more about their career or a particular job, you can request an informational interview. This is an opportunity to talk to professionals about their career journey and learn from their experiences. This can be a formal invitation or a casual conversation.
Remember, this is also an opportunity for you to share your interests, skills, and experiences and answers to questions (such as some of the questions in the worksheet at the beginning of this section). You’re not required to share anything about yourself that you don’t want to. However, if you feel comfortable, informational interviews can be a good opportunity to discuss your gender identity and expression in relation to application documents, navigating disclosure and workplace culture.
Informational interviews: start to finish
- Reach out. When requesting an informational interview, it’s helpful to explain why you’re reaching out and to highlight any common interests or experiences.
- Book a meeting. Professionals often have busy schedules, so be mindful and accommodating of their time. People often meet in public spaces (such as coffee shops), in meeting rooms and offices, and also via video conferencing. You should meet where you feel most comfortable and safe.
- Prepare some questions. Before meeting, do some research and prepare questions, such as:
- What do you enjoy the most about your current role?
- What is the most challenging aspect of the role?
- What is your advice for someone hoping to enter this field?
- Are there specific resources/groups/contacts that might be useful as I continue my job search?
- Follow up. After your meeting, send a follow-up message to thank the person for their time and insights. You can use this follow-up email to remind them of any commitments they made (e.g. referrals to other contacts, resources, etc.). If they gave you a piece of advice, let them know if and how it was helpful.
If you’re not sure where to start or feel uncertain about how to step into networking and informational interviews, reach out to your campus career centre for help. They can help you map out an action plan, share approaches for finding connections, and support you with preparing for networking conversations.