Best Ways To Request & Follow-up On An Informational Interview

Genuine, authentic interest in another person’s story.  That’s what informational interviews are all about.  They are one of my favorite ways to Research a new career.    You get to find out quickly and easily what it takes to be successful and what the person loves (and doesn’t love about his/her job.)  Talk about looking before you leap!

Unfortunately, I find people don’t know how to request this kind of conversation or follow-up from it in a way that builds a relationship.  So today, I’m here to show you how.  Recently I was asked to do an informational interview with a prospective coach and appreciated the way she requested the conversation and followed up.  Her emails are shared below with permission.

Example Email To Request For an Informational Interview

Dear Ms. Mistal,

I discovered your work while searching for the most successful individuals in the field of career coaching. Your mission to empower others to take charge of their careers and pursue their passions really resonates with me. I watched the video in which you told the story of how you became a career coach and I was impressed that you were able to build your business while working full time and without much coaching experience. I am interested in becoming a career coach and would love to hear more about how you became a leader in the career coaching field. Would you be willing to spare 20 minutes, at your convenience, to tell me more about your journey?
Thank you very much for your time.
Monica Milano

Example Email To Follow Up On An Informational Interview

Hi Maggie,

Thank you again for taking the time out of your busy schedule to speak with me yesterday. The information and advice you provided was incredibly helpful and greatly exceeded my expectations.  I appreciate how much you were willing to share with me.  Our conversation left me with a lot to reflect upon. 
Monica Milano
Reading these emails, it’s important to notice how Monica gives specific reasons why she wanted to speak with me.  Notice also how she did not go into very much detail about herself but saved that for our call after she’d had a chance to hear my story.   She also came prepared to our call with questions and showed me she was listening by reacting to my comments with her thoughts.
RS-600x400smFor my favorite informational interviewing questions check out my new self-study Research workbook. 
Now, it’s not all about me. But it is all about whomever you are looking to informational interview.  You’ve got to make it about them to 1) learn what you need to about their experience in the career you are thinking of pursuing and 2) to build a relationship with this established person to find ways to work together should you confirm this is the right career for you.
Enjoy getting to know someone who’s doing what you think you’d like to do.  Be curious about how they got to where they are and you’ll learn the steps you need to get where you want to be.


This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Lauren Banyar Reich

    Thank you for this post! Every time I talk to someone who is looking to break into the work-world, change careers or doesn’t know what they want to do when they grow-up, I tell them about Maggie (of course) and then I tell them about the informational interview. I think it is the single most under-used tool to build a network and find a career path that you will love!

  2. Michelle Perkins

    This was an exceptional post because it provided the needed words to allow people to take action. I suggest the informational interview to people who are seeking new careers and very few are willing to do it. It is seriously intimidating to people and they need to be guided on exactly what to say and how to go about it. Thank you!

  3. Lynne

    Great advice that will surely be kept in mind. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Andrea

    Great post! How do you suggest I follow up with someone who offered to do an introduction for a job lead without sounding pushy? As per my contact, I gave her a few weeks to arrange the introduction and still no word as of yet. Any advice would be appreciated! Thank you!

    1. Maggie

      Hi Andrea – You might want to find a relevant article or event that is of interest to your contact and send that along to her. Tell her you “found this and thought it might be of interest”. No need to mention the job lead. Just getting back on her radar will remind her about the introduction she offered to make. Good luck and keep me posted.

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