An email, letter or phone call can be an effective way to request for an informational interview. My experience is that about half of all people will respond positively to a well-written request for an informational interview.
Most people write a lame request that gets little or no response. That’s too bad, because if you know how to do it, it’s pretty easy to write informational interview requests that get many people to say yes.
When you’re requesting an informational interview, it’s extremely important that you connect powerfully with the people who receive your request. You want them to feel INSPIRED to help you. Here’s how you can do that.
The First Paragraph of a Request for an Informational Interview
Begin your request for an informational interview by explaining any connection you have to the person… such as you attended the same school, you have a mutual acquaintance, you belong to the same social group or volunteered at the same organization, or you share a common interest.
The Second Paragraph of a Request for an Informational Interview
Your second paragraph should build your credibility. You might briefly mention your educational background, your work or volunteer experience, an interesting project you were part of, an impressive accomplishment… or anything else about you that builds your credibility so the person receiving your request for an informational interview knows that talking to you isn’t a waste of their time.
The Third Paragraph of a Request for an Informational Interview
The third paragraph should request an informational interview and briefly tell them what information you would like to learn. This helps the person to recognize if they have the expertise to help you.
In this paragraph I also encourage people to assure the reader that you WILL be asking for career advice during the informational interview and that you will NOT be asking them to hire you. If you’re looking for a job, you don’t need to ask them to hire you… if they have a job opening that you are qualified for, they will tell you about it during your informational interview.
The Fourth Paragraph of a Request for an Informational Interview
Last, end your informational interview request with a respectful closing that asks them to contact you… without putting awkward pressure on them.
Like a cover letter and résumé, grammar and spelling count in requests for an informational interview.
For requests to people you don’t know, err on the side of formality and don’t use shorthand found in texting and instant messages.