Deliverables (combine these into one document)
- A 2-3 page, single-spaced report about your interview, written in memo format
- An APA-style reference list
- A list of interview questions
- A copy of the thank you note sent to the interviewee
An informational interview is a meeting with a working professional who can give you an inside view of an occupation, organization, and/or industry that is of interest to you. You will identify an appropriate interviewee; research their industry; schedule an interview; build a list of appropriate questions; conduct an in-person interview and take notes; send a thank you note; and write a reflective report about what you learned and how it applies to your professional future.
Your interviewee should be a person with at least five years of professional experience and someone you have not interviewed before for other Mason assignments. As this assignment is meant to help build your network, you may not interview Mason professors, current colleagues, friends, or family members.
The first 2-3 pages of your assignment, formatted as a memo to your professor and typed single-spaced, (1000 to 1500 words) should include:
- Your Professional Goals and the Purpose of the Interview (1 paragraph): Briefly describe your career interests and 2-3 career goals and then explain why this interviewee is relevant to those goals.
- Biography of Interviewee (1-2 paragraphs): Sum up the interviewee’s professional biography, including his/her professional background, current title and responsibilities, organization, and a summary of the interviewee’s career journey, from beginning to date.
- Industry Overview (2-3 paragraphs, based on research): Provide an overview of the industry (not your interviewee’s company), including market size, types of careers in the industry, nature of work in the field, types of writing and communication skills required, and other skills needed. Incorporate information from both the interview and additional research you have done. Use 3-5 sources of information for this section and provide in-text citations using APA formatting. (You will also provide a list of references at the end of the paper.) A good place to start your research is the GMU Library BUS 303 InfoGuide: http://infoguides.gmu.edu/BUS303
- Interview Process (2 paragraphs): What worked well with the process of preparing for and conducting your informational interview? Why? What didn’t work well? Why?
- Reflection (2-3 paragraphs): This is the most important part of your memo. Synthesize 2-3 meaningful highlights or “take-aways” from the interview and reflect on their implications for your career.
Next, include the following items as three separate pages at the back of your memo:
(1) Interview Questions: A list of 10-12 questions you thoughtfully prepared prior to the interview, in the order that you intended to ask them. (It’s okay if you don’t end up asking them exactly as you planned—but it’s important to have a list.) You need to write these questions yourself; do not plagiarize a list of questions from the internet. Think about what you would really like to know from this person. One question you should definitely ask is, “What are employers in your industry looking for in new college graduates?”
(2) Thank You Note: A copy of the thank you note (handwritten or emailed) that you sent to the interviewee, preferably within 24 hours of the interview.
(3) Reference List: A list of 3-5 sources you used for your industry overview. Be sure to use APA formatting.
A memo is a professional document used in organizations to share important workplace information. Memos should be clear and concise and they should be divided into sections marked by headings. We will talk about memo formatting in class. While most organizations have their own templates, to create a memo for this assignment you can use a memo template from Microsoft Word.
To organize your memo effectively, include topical headings (use this assignment handout for an example).Single space the text within paragraphs and add a vertical space between paragraphs. All text should be left-aligned, 12-point Times New Roman or Arial font, with one-inch margins.
- Was the interviewee thoughtfully selected based on the career goals articulated, and did the person meet the criteria of an appropriate person to interview?
- Did the author effectively synthesize relevant information about the interviewee, the organization, and the industry?
- Did the author provide appropriate industry research?
- Did the author demonstrate thoughtful reflection about the interview process and include both successes and challenges of conducting the interview?
- Did the author effectively summarize the most important interview findings and reflect on the applications of those findings to his/her career?
- Was the report written as a professional memo in the specified format, with topical headings by section?
- Were the interview questions purposeful, logical, and carefully crafted?
- Was the thank you note timely, thoughtful, and professional?
- Was the writing clear, concise, coherent, proofread, and polished?