Finding Someone to Interview

One way to search for potential contacts is to look on LinkedIn. To get started you will need to create a professional profile. After doing this, you can search by employer, university and name. If you have questions setting up your profile, you can set up a coaching appointment and check out LinkedIn's guides.

You can also locate someone to interview through family and friends, professors, career coaches, academic advisors, or professional organizations. Once you locate someone, you may be surprised at how eager your professional contact is to talk with you. Many people enjoy talking about their work and themselves.

Initiating Contact

Sending an email is the preferred way to contact a potential interviewee. Introduce yourself as a college student, explain how you got the person’s name, express your interest in his or her career field, and ask if you can meet for 30 minutes. For example:

Dear Mr. Chase,

My name is Shani Lameck. I’m an Economics major at Indiana University researching a possible career in finance. I found your name using LinkedIn. If you have the time, I would like to meet with you for 30 minutes to discuss your field. If you’re unable to meet, perhaps you could suggest a co-worker or someone you know I could contact. I appreciate your time.

Thank you,


Most interviews are 20-30 minute workday meetings; you should rearrange your schedule to accommodate your interviewee. Although you can also request a phone interview (if the person does not live nearby), meeting in person:

  • Best prepares you for future professional interactions
  • Lets you see their workplace
  • Makes a more significant impression on the professional than the telephone
  • Opens the door to a longer observational visit (job shadowing)

Preparing Yourself

Informational interviewing should not be a starting point for your career research. It should supplement what you have already learned. Consult websites, such as and to research the nature of the career, the required education and training, and other basic facts. Note that company websites for basic info, such as GlassDoor, Vault, and the Wall Street Journal, are all free for IU students.

In addition to researching the career, spend some time researching the company or organization your interviewee works for as well as some of their personal background. This will give you a head start in the interview. For instance, instead of asking what the person majored in while in college, you can ask something like, “I see that you major in communications in college, how do you think that degree has helped you in your profession?”

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