There are lots of different tactics you can use to optimize your job-seeking process.
One of the most effective ones is to write an informational interview email to a potential employer.
However, it might seem somewhat stressful to ask a stranger or someone you don’t know very well to have an informational interview with you.
We are here to make things a little bit easier, in this article, we are going to find the answers to the following questions:
- What’s an informational interview?
- How to write an informational interview email?
And we are going to wrap things up by providing you an informational interview email template to get you started.
So, if it all sounds good, let’s dive in.
What's an informational interview?
An informational interview is a great way to connect with professionals in your field of work and get some insight.
You will not only create a new valuable connection with a professional, but will also strategically place yourself in the mix for potential future job opportunities.
If you play your cards right, that move can even lead to a job referral at some point.
You can ask pretty much anyone for an informational interview, but it is better to stick to people you have some kind of connection with, like going to the same school, mutual professional contacts, or anyone you have in your LinkedIn network.
How to write an informational interview email?
Once you find someone that you would like to organize an informational interview with, it is time to figure out how to do it in the best possible way.
It would be best if you can find someone who can introduce you or provide you with the person’s contact information, but even if that’s not the case, you can always find some contact information online.
And once it is time for you to email them about an informational interview, you need to follow just a few simple steps.
Use a proper salutation
To start off on the right foot with your email, you need to make sure you are using a proper salutation.
You should start your email with “Dear”, or “Hello”, followed by “Mr”, “Ms” (or “Dr” if the recipient has a doctoral or medical degree), and add in their last name.
Based on the recipient’s residence, there might be some specifics about how people typically address emails, but the formula above should work no matter what.
Share your mutual connection
It is a fact that people are more likely to make time for you if you are introduced by a mutual connection of yours.
When you are contacting someone by email, and you have a mutual connection, make sure you name-drop it right at the start to catch the recipient’s attention.
Furthermore, name-drop it a few more times throughout the email’s body while explaining why they encouraged you to reach out.
Be clear about what you want
Now it is time to focus on the really important part of your email – share with the recipient what exactly you want.
Make sure your email is short and specific.
However, don’t forget that informational interviews are about gathering information and networking, and not about asking for a job.
That’s why you need to reassure the recipient that you are not going to hit them up for a job.
Instead, share with them what you hope to gain from your conversation. Some of the things you can say are:
- I would love to hear about your career and experience working in Company Ltd
- I want to learn more about your industry/profession
While you probably prefer a specific time for your informational interview, or a place that you find convenient, you need to leave that details up to the recipient.
Your informational interview might be held in the recipient’s office, a coffee shop, or in modern times it might be just a quick call over Zoom.
Either way, you need to keep in mind that the recipient should be the one to take these decisions.
Informational interview email template
And now, as promised, we are going to provide you with an informational interview email template to get you started.
We are all done, now you know how to write an informational interview email.
Let’s do a quick recap to make sure you’ve got everything you need:
- Use a proper salutation – start with “Dear” or “Hello”, followed by “Mr” or “Ms” and the recipient’s last name
- Share your mutual connection – if you have one, name-drop it right at the start of the email to catch the recipient’s attention
- Be clear about what you want – share what you want to gain from the information interview, and stay away from asking for a job in it, as that is not its main purpose
- Be flexible – even though you might prefer a specific time and place for your informational interview, make sure you let the recipient control these details
Check out our informational interview template and use it to reach out to any professional you feel interested in.