Networking: What an Informational Interview Is and How to Land One
By Khadejah Stegall
Khadejah is a part of the TLC College Ambassador Program and attends North Carolina A&T University.
If you want to be ambitious and get a job in your desired industry, informational interviews are a great way to meet people and learn about different roles. These interviews can be done on an internship or you can connect with someone on LinkedIn and ask them for one. Here are some benefits and tips for informational interviews:
1. Get to know more about a role or person
People love to talk about themselves and their career journey. Of course, do your research before you are in your informational interview, but this is a great time to really ask someone what their days looks like and how they like their job.
2. See if a company is a good fit for you
If you are thinking about working for a specific company, it may be great to do an informational interview with someone to see how the culture is and what they like and don’t like about the company or position they are in.
3. Ask them to critique your resume
This is great because you aren’t asking for a job, but you are simply asking for guidance on how you can make your resume better. This can work out in your favor because if they are impressed with your resume, they may keep you in mind for certain opportunities that come up or if you interned somewhere in the past, you may have a mutual connection and it can spark a conversation.
4. Ask them if there is anyone else they recommend you connect with
This is another great way to grow your network. See if the person you are doing your informational interview with can connect you with some people that do what you would like to do in the future.
5. Find out what groups or organizations they are a part of
It’s great to know what organizations people are a part of and which ones could be beneficial to you. This is also a way to remain in touch because you may happen to run into each other at another event.
6. Do your research!
Before you speak with someone, research their company, the department they work in and that person. Don’t be creepy, but it’s great to show how interested you are in the person and they will be impressed with you.
Here is an email template to ask for an informational interview.
Dear [first name],
My name is [your name], and I’m a [occupation] at [location/company]. I’m reaching out because [state your purpose of reaching out]. I was impressed with [any accomplishments about the person] and would love to learn more about [one or two things you would like to learn].
I’m sure you are busy and I want to respect your time, so 15-20 minutes would be very appreciated.
Thanks so much!
[signature with name and link to your portfolio in case they want to research you]
I hope this email finds you well. My name is Khadejah Stegall and I’m interning in the BET creative services department working under Kai Brown until the end of August. I’m reaching out because I was impressed on how you won two PROMAX awards, while also launching your own blog on the side. I would love to talk to you more about balancing entrepreneurship and your journey to producing. I’m sure you are busy, and I want to be respectful of your time so 15-20 minutes would be very appreciated.
Thanks so much!
All the best,
This email is short, sweet and to the point. If you want to do an informational interview at a restaurant, research that person and see if you can find one of their favorite places in the area.
As you know, professionals gets busy so you may have to send a follow-up email, but no worries! The Life Currency has a template for that as well!
Dear [person’s name],
I hope you are having a great week! I wanted to follow up on my request for an informational interview. As I explained in my previous email, [accomplishments impressed with], I would love to hear more about [two things you want to know]. I’m happy to meet at the place of your choice or enjoy a phone conversation. However, if your schedule is too full, I completely understand.
I hope you are having a great week! I wanted to follow up on my request for an informational interview. As I explained in my previous email, I am super inspired by your blog and projects you have produced. I would love to learn more about your journey to producing and what lead you to launch your blog. I’m happy to meet at the place of your choice or enjoy a phone conversation. However, if your schedule is too full, I completely understand.
Many times, if someone’s schedule is full, they may ask you to reach back out in two weeks or a couple of months. Be sure that you stay diligent and continue to follow up. One attempt isn’t enough. Happy networking!
Khadejah Stegall is a college mommy blogger that inspires others to achieve the impossible through the power of Jesus. She enjoys family time, eating vegan meals when it's convenient and mentoring others on professional development. To be inspired by more post, follow her blog at khadejahstegall.com