In the dynamic world of job searching and career building, mastering the art of securing an informational interview request is a skill that can set you apart. Whether you’re a fresh graduate, a professional eyeing a career change, or in an active job search, understanding how to effectively request an informational interview is crucial. This guide is here to encourage you and show you how to increase your chances of getting that valuable 30-minute with someone who can influence your career path.
Understanding the Value of Informational Interviews
An informational interview is more than just a casual chat; it’s a strategic opportunity to learn about a particular job, company, or industry from someone who’s already in the field. It’s a chance to gain insights not available online or in job descriptions. Remember, people are busy, and their time is valuable. Approaching them for an informational interview means you’re asking them to invest their time in you.
Crafting Your Interview Request
1. Personalize Your Approach
Research: Before sending out your interview request, do your homework. Look at the person’s LinkedIn profile and understand their career trajectory. This shows respect for the person’s time and dedication on your part.
Subject Line: Your email’s subject line is your first impression. Make it count! Use a clear, professional subject line that includes the phrase “request for informational interview.”
2. Be Concise and Specific
Content: Clearly state why you’re reaching out and what you hope to learn. Whether it’s gaining insights into their career path or understanding more about their company, be specific.
Timeframe: Respect their schedule by suggesting a brief meeting, typically no more than 30 minutes. Let them know you understand that people are busy.
3. Highlight Mutual Connections
If you have a mutual connection, mention it. This can help establish trust and increase the likelihood of your request being noticed.
4. Show Genuine Interest
Express your interest in their career path and experiences. This isn’t just about your job search; it’s about learning from their journey.
5. Utilize LinkedIn Wisely
Engagement: Before sending your request, engage with your potential interviewee’s LinkedIn content. Like or comment thoughtfully on their posts. This not only shows your interest but also brings your name to their attention in a positive, professional context. LinkedIn has published a number of articles on how to leverage informational interviews and where LinkedIn can help you.
6. Express Gratitude and Flexibility
Appreciation: Always express your gratitude for their time and consideration. Acknowledge that they are doing you a favor by sharing their insights.
Flexibility: Offer flexibility in scheduling the interview. Whether it’s a phone call, a video chat, or a coffee meet-up, make it as convenient as possible for them.
The Power of Informational Interviews
Engaging in informational interviews can significantly broaden your understanding of your desired field, giving you an edge in your job search and career planning. These conversations can provide you with insider knowledge, practical advice, and even lead to job referrals. Remember, each informational interview is a stepping stone towards building a robust professional network, which is an invaluable asset in today’s competitive job market.
By following these strategies, you’re not just asking for a favor; you’re showing that you’re a motivated, thoughtful, and proactive individual. These qualities are highly admired in any professional setting and can make a lasting impression. So go ahead, craft that request with confidence, and take the next big step in your career journey. Once they say yes, read through What Are the Questions to Ask During an Informational Interview to help you prepare.
If you haven’t heard back after your initial request, it’s okay to send a polite follow-up. People are busy, and emails can get lost in the shuffle. A gentle reminder can sometimes make all the difference.
Leveraging Professional Networking
Remember, securing an informational interview is a significant step in professional networking. It’s not just about the job search; it’s about building relationships that can provide valuable insights and advice for your career path. I reviewed a book that is a fantastic resource for anyone looking at leveraging their network for informational interviews. Check out Friend of a Friend.
Securing an informational interview request requires a blend of respect, research, and genuine interest. By personalizing your approach and valuing the person’s time, you can make your request stand out. And remember, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or unsure about how to build your network, click here to contact Lisa for a free consultation to support you in your journey. Your next big opportunity could be just one conversation away!