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This series is dedicated to explaining the parts of an informational interview, an important step in dominating the job hunt.
For those of you just tuning in, let me get something off my chest.
Do not ask for a job. Do not ask for a job. Do not ask for a job. Do you understand me? This interview is only for advice. You can go back to my introduction on informational interviews to find out my feelings on this.
Now, let’s break down the components of a good introductory email.
1. Greeting and introduction.
Remember the research you did? Make sure your tone matches what you found when studying how they present themselves as a company.
Be polite and explain who you are. Are you studying in the field of the company? Mention that. Are you looking to switch careers? Explain your situation.
2. Open with how you found the company and why you are contacting this person directly.
If you found an article, this would be the time to mention it. If you have no reason beyond “I saw your name in the company’s listings,” find another reason. Maybe they are in a position you would like to know more about or followed an nontraditional path to their job?
By opening with a shared interest or a work of theirs, you are creating a connection. It shows why you are contacting them specifically over any other person.
Note: If this is a warm contact through a friend or mentor, ask the friend to introduce you to each other and explain the commonalities. “Bob, this is Rebecca, the graphic designer I was talking about. She is interested in designing for fashion brands and I thought you could impart some wisdom,” will be more effective. You can pick up the conversation once your friend or mentor bows out.
3. Ask to treat them for coffee and to have a quick chat.
Explain that you are looking for tips on the industry and to see how their job functions. You want it to be clear you are not asking for a job with their company, but for a chance to speak with them.
Pro tip: people respond to specifics instead of generalities, so lead with a specific day and time. This is known as a “call to action” and will boost your response rate.
4. Contact information and signature.
Thank them for taking the time to read your email and leave information on how to contact you. If you have a website, now would be the time to direct them towards it.
Now it’s time for my number one tip.
5. Be confident.
Revel in the fact that there is no pressure about these interviews. Because this isn’t for a job interview, the worst they can tell you is no. Maybe you will never hear from them, that’s okay too.
It’s going to feel a little nerve wracking at first. Please, still hit send. The possible rewards outweigh the temporary anxiety.
Do you have an tricks to boost your confidence? Share your tips below.
Want to learn how to reach out to industries pros you admire, without coming off like a creep? Join us for our FREE virtual workshop “The Art of the Informational Interview” on Tuesday, April 11th from 8:00pm-9:00pm. Learn more and register here: findspark.com/art-of-informational-interviews