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By: Jake Kelfer, @jakekelfer
One of the most difficult things college students and young adults struggle with is asking for an informational interview. While many people are scared/nervous to do informational interviews for a plethora of reasons, informational interviews are one of the best ways to expand your network, get hired, or switch professions. The key is to remember that people love talking about themselves, so when you reach out to them in an appropriate way, most of the time they will happily talk about themselves with you.
Three great ways to reach out to people for informational interviews are through referrals, email, and LinkedIn.
Referrals are typically the easiest way to get informational interviews because it is a warm introduction. This means someone you know is setting up the introduction with the person you are interested in interviewing. Once you have the introduction, it is much easier to ask them to talk about their career and journey.
LinkedIn is a terrific resource for reaching out to people for informational interviews, especially in a business setting. LinkedIn is the number one resource for online networking. Not only can you find almost anyone in business on LinkedIn, but you can learn a thing or two about them before you even reach out by looking at their profile. You can see if you have any similarities or any connections in common. This makes it easier to connect. Remember, when you reach out to be polite and respectful.
Lastly, reaching out via email is the most personal because sending someone a direct email shows you’ve done enough research to obtain his or her email. Some of you may think this is creepy, but it really isn’t. It shows dedication and ambition, and most people will appreciate the hustle. Email is also something everyone looks at daily, so this is one of the best ways to get him or her to open and read your message. The biggest tip when sending an email is to make sure it is personalized and that you show appreciation and gratitude for them just taking the time to read your email.
It is very important to remember anyone you ask for an informational interview is a busy person. Their time is valuable. The more sincere and appreciative you are in the way you ask, the more likely they will want to take time out of their busy schedule and help you.
If you would like to see a sample email of how to effectively reach out to someone through each of the platforms mentioned in the article, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.