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Get Interviews, Use this Blueprint

Let’s channel Jeopardy!.

Answer: No

Question: What is, have you ever conducted an informational interview?

Perhaps the most under-utilized tool available to job seekers and employed professionals is the informational interview. I know this because I speak with job seekers on a daily basis and frequently ask if they have considered an informational interview to learn more about a prospective organization or career. Often the answer is no.

Defined by the University of California Berkeley as “an informal conversation with someone working in an area that interests you who will give you information and advice,”  I encourage you to consider the information interview. It is an effective method to gain accurate information from primary sources. 

So if you want to send out some informational interview requests via email but don’t quite know what to say, use the sample below as a guide. Informational interview templates are bountiful on the Web, and I have used this email successfully:  

Hello Mr. Volk,

My name is Peter Martin, a friend and former colleague of Greg Kite. Greg gave me your name and suggested that I contact you for a project that I am working on specific to the issues that healthcare facility directors encounter on a daily basis. 

Having been employed by two different healthcare organizations I have industry experience. I am in the process of meeting with hospital facility directors and would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you and discuss your challenges. I am not seeking a job and will take only 30 minutes of your time.

Any Tuesday or Friday will work best for me, however I will be flexible to your schedule. Thank you in advance for your time. 

Best regards,

Peter Martin

 

6 informational interview best practices

  1. Keep the email brief and be sure to include the who, what, when, why. 
  2. For a salutation I prefer the informal use of hello combined with the formal use of Mr. or Ms. It sets a conversational tone while not assuming a personal relationship.
  3. If there is a connection or referral to the person you are contacting, state it in paragraph 1.
  4. Reiterate that you do not want a job and place a time limit on your conversation. From my experience, your discussion will go longer than the time allotted.  
  5. If possible meet in person and at the end of the conversation, ask for an additional contact. 
  6. Send a handwritten thank you note.

Good luck and remember, most people are willing to help if only you ask!

 

Best regards,                                                                                                                                          

Peter Martin                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

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