University of Minnesota Morris


Your Network

Experience has shown that the best source of information and direct job leads is your circle of friends and acquaintances. People you know will have their own circles of friends and acquaintances. Your network list should include contacts form the past, present, and those individuals you contact in the future.

Suggestions for developing your network contacts

You need to keep building your network contacts. Add the names of people as you meet them. Never underestimate someone you know - they also have numerous contacts (i.e., policemen, bartenders, beauticians, cab and bus drivers, other people providing personal services, retailers, secretaries/receptionists, librarians, etc.).

Information Interviewing

Once you have developed your “contact network” you should begin informational interviewing.

Step 1 - Identify Contacts

You should identify contacts within your career interests. These individuals can be identified through your contact network or referrals from others.

Step 2 - Approach the Contacts

There are many different ways to approach your contacts to request an information interview: personal referral, walk-in, telephone call, or letter. The personal referral is the most successful approach. When talking to your contact you should:

Step 3 - Preparation

You can prepare yourself for you information interview in several ways:

Step 4 - The Information Interview

You should conduct yourself in a professional manner during the interview. You should regard each interview as a business appointment and conduct yourself with the principles of business etiquette in mind. Making a good first impression may be critical if you are to return at a later time as a job hunter. You will usually find the person being interviewed both informative and sympathetic to your concerns. During the interview you should:

Step 5 - Follow-up

Within a week after the information interview, you should send a thank you note to the interviewee and record helpful information in a “career facts” notebook. Entries in this notebook might include the name, address, and phone number of each contact interviewed; a list of pertinent career information gathered from this individual; and, the names of additional referrals.

The following questions are listed as a guide to a comprehensive and orderly study of the occupation or work environment. Gathering this information is vital if you are able to determine whether the particular occupation or work environment is suitable to your own interests, needs, skills, abilities and values. After reading the questions, copy those which seem important to you personally and add your own questions to your list.

Informational Interview Questions

After the Interview, Questions to ask yourself

Networking and Informal Interviewing Bibliography