Informational Interviewing: Exploring Possible Career Paths

April 11, 2017

Whether you’re looking to grow within your profession or break into a new field, informational interviewing can be instrumental in helping you make a smooth transition. A career change can be as invigorating as it is intimidating, so obtaining valuable information can greatly assist you in sensibly planning and making your next move. So what is an informational interview? Let’s take a closer look.

Simply put, informational interviews are conducted with a professional in your desired field. They’re not intended to secure a position, but to enable you to learn more about a particular industry or advanced opportunities that align with your objectives. Engaging in these discussions is vital for a number of reasons, including:

-Gaining insight into what a typical day might look like within this field or particular opportunity.

- A chance to have your questions answered; get tips, advice and even valuable industry lessons which may not be readily available.

-Brushing up on your interview skills.  

-Finding out if you need additional skills within this field that you were unaware of. Speaking with someone in the know is invaluable.

There are a number of ways you can decide who to enlist to gain insight about a new field. I recommend first compiling a list of your current connections that are well versed within your field of interest. Then, craft an email asking whether or not these individuals are willing to assist you. Be sure to directly state the reason for your meeting, and make yourself available at their convenience, and extend gratitude.

Prepare for this meeting as you would for any professional interview. Know your questions ahead of time and be prompt, organized, and respectful of their time. The ideal goal is for you to make a positive and invaluable impression.

Remember when embarking on a new career path, the right questions is the first step in determining what type of professional jobs may be right for you. Connect professionally, gather many viewpoints, and then be prepared to begin your job search.

By: Tara Teague 


Chicago river at night
  • “The decision to leave my former firm was difficult, but the thought of conducting a job search in Chicago while continuing to practice in Indianapolis was simply overwhelming. Fortunately, I was referred to Alan Rubenstein by a friend. Alan’s knowledge of the Chicago legal market and the different cultures within various law firms was invaluable. The information and resources Alan provided gave me a competitive advantage and allowed me to negotiate a superior arrangement, but most importantly, he helped me select the firm best suited for my personal and professional goals. I have since referred several of my friends to Alan and they have each had equally rewarding experiences.”

    Robert T. Buday, Partner

    Latham & Watkins