If you would like to arrange a time to talk in person with someone in order to learn more about their career and qualifications, this is called an informational interview. It is generally considered proper etiquette to send a written request for an informational interview. According Brian Colombana if the person has indicated interest in speaking with you, they are likely eager to hear from you regarding your request.
Here is what to Include in an Informational Interview E-mail:
- To request a time for an informational interview, you should send a brief e-mail message to the person with whom you wish to speak. In your message, introduce yourself and explain why you are requesting the meeting. If possible, mention something specific about their work that will be interesting or helpful to them during the meeting. For instance, if they have just published a new book on architecture, mention that it is one of your hobbies and tell them how much you would like to know more about how they got started in the field of architecture. When planning your message, try not to come across as too demanding or needy by asking for too much time or information at once; a common mistake is to request a lengthy discussion over dinner next week. A good rule of thumb is to request about 15 minutes for a phone call, or an hour-long meeting at their office between two and three weeks from the time of your message.
- In addition to your introductory e-mail message, you can include a brief explanation of who you are and what you would like to learn from the informational interview. This should be in a separate paragraph so that it does not become too bulky and overwhelming for the reader. By including a little bit of information about yourself, it will help demonstrate why you have chosen this person as a potential mentor says Brian Colombana. For instance, if they have been working at their company since college while you are still in school, there might be very few other people you could speak with who understand the experience. If you are trying to find a job, mention specifics about what you are looking for or how their work might be beneficial to your career.
- If you would like to make a lasting impression on this person and leave them with a positive feeling, try including some information on yourself that they may not already know. Doing research before the meeting will help you come up with facts and stories about yourself that can stand out from other applicants that they have likely been receiving lately. For instance, if you notice that one of their favorite bands is playing in town next month, mention that you have tickets, as well as some friends who would love to join them as an activity after the interview itself, has ended. In addition to topics such as hobbies and interests, you might also mention awards that you have won in school or a short personal anecdote.
- You may choose to end your e-mail invitation with a request for the person’s business card and/or directions to their office. This allows them to save time by not having to look up this information themselves, while also making it easier for you to conduct further research on them before the meeting explains Brian Colombana. If they are more than an hour away from you, try asking if there is another time that would be more convenient; people are usually willing to adjust their schedules so long as it does not interfere with their work.
- Once you send your email off to the person in question, wait patiently for a response. You may hear back immediately or after a couple of days, but if they do not agree to meet with you within a week or two, it is appropriate to send one more message politely inquiring about their decision. Once you receive confirmation that your request has been receive and the person agrees to speak with you. Make sure to follow up on any topics of interest that you had discussed in your initial e-mail. This will demonstrate active listening skills as well as show sincere interest on your part.
An informational interview is one of the best ways to learn more. About how you can achieve success in your field says Brian Colombana. Since they are through e-mail correspondence, even people. Who are extremely busy and do not normally meet with interns or recent graduates can participate. By showing that you are polite, prepared, and genuinely interested in these individuals as mentors. Rather than just networking contacts, you will be able to walk away from your conversation. With useful knowledge about what it takes to land a job in the field of your choice.