Informational interviews have a number of things going against them. They sound boring, ineffective and hard to get.
an informational interview can make or break your job search if used
correctly. They work because they allow you to make a personal
connection with a real human being who is typically in a much better
position to endorse you and recommend you internally in his/her company.
Here are some tips for effectively requesting an informational interview:
No phone calls, please.
Emailing or sending a message via LinkedIn allows the recipient to
choose to respond at their own leisure and doesn't interrupt their
Don't forget about grammar.
Always proofread everything you write to any professional. If possible,
ask someone else you trust to read your outgoing messages to these
professionals just for outside perspective. This is especially important
if English is not your first language.
Include a catchy subject line.
No matter how you know the person you want to contact, the subject of
your message has to be personal and direct to catch their attention and
move them to read it. Always include their name. If you don't know the
person, consider using "John - Question from a Student" or "John - Request for Informational Interview." If you do know them, I recommend "John - Request from Chris Perry"
or if you don't know them personally, but went to the same college or
have something in common, I recommend something along the lines of "John - Request from a W&M Student."
Briefly introduce yourself.
In a short first paragraph, state your name, who you are and what you
are doing. Remember, busy people don't have time to read long messages.
Keep it short, sweet and to the point.
Promote your commonalities.
If someone who knows them has referred you, or you have something
significant in common with the person (i.e. college, professional
organization), make sure to include this. A stronger connection or link
between you both can only help you get an interview.
Don't ask for a job, that's not their job!
When you request an informational interview, DON'T ask them upfront for
help to get you a job in their company. They already know you're
interested in opportunities in their company or you wouldn't be
contacting them. Ask them for the opportunity to speak about THEIR
career, how THEY got involved in it, THEIR company and/or its culture.
NEVER send your resume.
A resume looks presumptuous and inconsiderate and implies that you
expect them to take time to look at it and more time to send it to the
right person BEFORE they have even had a chance to "yes" or "no" to your
Make yourself contactable. Make
sure to have an email/message signature with all possible methods to
contact you listed. This way, you look professional and they can get in
touch with you in whatever way they prefer.
Here is an
informational interview request example (to be sent to someone you don't
currently know) that puts all of these tips to work:
Subject: John - Career Question
Dear Mr. John Smith,
name is Jane Doe, and I currently work in marketing in Atlanta, GA. I
am pursuing a long-term career in marketing and specifically career
opportunities at COMPANY NAME.
I am interested in speaking with
you about your career, COMPANY NAME's culture and your marketing team's
various programs and activities. Would you be willing to set up a short
30-minute informational interview with me in the coming week or two so I
can learn more about your career in marketing and your company?
I truly appreciate your time and your consideration.
I look forward to hearing from you soon! Sincerely,
Jane Doe Email Address - Cell: Phone Number
actually used these tips and this example in my own job search and
experienced a very high and positive response rate that eventually led
to a real job interview and my current career. Therefore, I recommend
you leverage these in your own efforts to help you reach the hiring
managers behind the job postings and achieve job search success.
Chris Perry, MBA, is a Gen Y brand and marketing generator, brand marketing manager,
career search and personal branding expert, professional speaker,
entrepreneur and brand consultant. Chris is the founder of Career
Rocketeer, the Career Search and Personal Branding Network, MBA Highway,
the MBA Job Search and Career Network and multiple other ventures.
Learn more about Chris on his website: http://chrisperry.me