Field Research (Informational Interviewing)

When you’re going through your mail or e-mail, what’s the first thing you do? You typically make two categories: trash and possibly open. Then you skim through it again to see what else you can throw away. If you have too much in the inbox you may just start mass deleting items!

Employers do the same thing. Employers may get hundreds of resumes and applications – with or without an open position.

To set yourself apart – and streamline the process for employers – your responsibility is to be as knowledgeable about their company, their industry, and the position, as possible. Field Research is gathering relevant information and building your professional network.

This process, which can be on going and continuously evolving, starts with understanding the industry and roles that you are interested in and experienced with.

Field Research can be completed through three ways:

  • Print – using websites, videos, articles you can read up on the industries, professions, and companies
  • Experience – by volunteering, joining an organization, and attending related workshops you are able to obtain quantifiable exposure to new or transferable career paths
  • Informational Interviewing – most professionals are excited to share inside perspectives and personal experiences. Use the resources below to structure a successful Information Interview

The Career Project – free & interactive career profile database
Research Occupations (O*NET OnLine)
Occupational Outlook Handbook (BLS)
Steps & Tips – Informational Interviewing (Yale)
Guide – Informational Interviewing (UC Berkeley)
Guide – Informational Interviewing (University at Buffalo)
Article – Mastering the Informational Interview (New York Times)
Article – How to Conduct Company Research (
Blog Post – The Best Questions to Ask in an Informational Interview (

Career Transition & Development, First Jobs, Internships, & Volunteering, Job Search Basics, Outside Your Industry