Informational interviews are essential in your career pivot. It’s a core belief of After Your PhD that informational interviews are career-changing. Asking questions and finding clarity is what informational interviews are all about. You can’t understand the world around you if you don’t ask questions.

The focus of an informational interview is not on getting a job, but rather on learning and building relationships. When I explored careers outside of academia, my network was very thin. I slowly grew a network, and ultimately, more confidence with each passing informational interview. My worldview began to shift and I saw the potential of what I could do outside of the Ivory Tower.

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Informational Interviews – Where To Start?

If you just found yourself questioning about whether you want to stay in academia, here are few ideas to where to reach people who you could interview. I strongly recommend asking people with a PhD in their name and not in the name. More perspectives is best for your career pivot and outlook.

  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter (check #altac or #academictwitter)
  • Students in cohort who left academia
  • Facebook Groups

Book Recommendations For Building Social Skills

If you’re an introvert like me, talking to people isn’t always easy.

Supplement your growth and building your “soft skills” through books. These books are not all directly about informational interviews, but I argue these books can help you become a better interviewer and more easily tell your career journey/story. When you use informational interviews as a direct strategy for job searching, you’re ultimately “selling” and telling your story, it’s important to make an impact and treat your informational interviews seriously – but authentically.

Related Posts about Informational Interviews

Below are tagged After Your PhD posts about informational interviews to make it easier to navigate. Feel free to email for suggestions for topics!

  • How To Stand Out in Informational Interviews

    How To Stand Out in Informational Interviews

    When I started exploring careers outside of academia, my network was thin. That changed after I started scheduling informational interviews with people in careers ranging from, UX, data science, and digital marketing. I slowly began having conversations with folks across different industries and had a better understanding of the world around me. Informational interviews are…

  • How To Use AI To Help Your Career Pivot

    How To Use AI To Help Your Career Pivot

    There’s a lot of fear about Open AI’s new chatbot called ChatGPT in academia and even outside of academia. That’s understandable. People have always feared new technologies because – well – it’s new. If used correctly, AI can be useful in your day to day. AI tools can certainly assist you in making small tasks…

  • How To Get a Data Scientist Job As a PhD: An Interview With An Activision Data Scientist

    How To Get a Data Scientist Job As a PhD: An Interview With An Activision Data Scientist

    About Our Guest: In the ongoing series of interviews with PhDs with diverse perspectives about academia and career pivots, I interviewed Kyle Boerstler. Dr. Boerstler is a Data Scientist at Activision. About the Interviewer: Ryan Collins, PhD is the founder of After your PhD. He graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 2021 with A PhD…

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