Informational calls are a great resource whether you’re changing roles, deciding on a major, or moving into a new industry. You can also expand your network and share first-hand insights into your career opportunities.
But a rambling interview request sent out of the blue can backfire. So how can you plan informational meetings professionally?
Step-by-step: How to set up an informational meeting
So you would like to arrange an information meeting. But how do you start? Our walkthrough will help you plan interviews without being pushy.
1. Decide not to let fear get in your way.
Approaching a stranger to set up an interview can be awkward. Your instincts may warn you to avoid human contact altogether. But don’t let fear stop you.
Find out how to network as an introvert and check out our networking tips if you’re getting nervous about networking.
Reach out to your current network to socialize so you can establish a basis for an informational interview. And allow yourself to make mistakes. Instead of worrying about the “perfect message,” just be confident and polite.
2. Decide who you want to talk to.
An information session is about getting information. So think carefully about who you want to interview. Which people help you to achieve your professional goals?
Then reach out to friends and family to see if they can put you in touch with someone in a target role. You can also lean on your alumni network, LinkedIn connections, or professional networking sites.
Tools like LinkedIn allow you to filter employees from a company who have attended your school.
3. Reach out.
Establishing contact is often the most intimidating step in preparing for an informational interview. So focus on one short, clear question.
Use email or LinkedIn to send a short message. Be specific about your request and personalize your contact. Mention why you are reaching out to them specifically. If you attended the same college or recently read one of their blog posts, briefly mention it.
Use a real, warm and professional tone. Don’t be stuffy or robotic.
And be specific. Ask if they’re open to a brief informational session and suggest meeting options such as: B. a phone call, a personal coffee or questions by e-mail.
Respect their time and don’t waste it. And avoid looking desperate for a job.
4. If you don’t hear anything, speak up.
You may not hear back after your first request. Wait at least three days to follow up. Ideally, give them a week to respond. Remember, you’re asking her a favor, so don’t act like you’re entitled to her time.
Send a short, polite follow-up. If you don’t get a response after a follow-up, move on. You can always reach out to people in similar roles or within the same company.
5. Prepare for your meeting and do your research.
If you get feedback, prepare before your meeting. Make sure you appear well informed. Your new contact could be a reference across the board. So do your research.
Look at their professional and educational backgrounds to find common ground to address during the informational interview.
Prepare a list of questions before your meeting. Ask how they got into their current role and what responsibilities they assume on a daily and long-term basis. Allow spontaneity in the interview, but make sure you get your main points across.
6. Conduct your information session.
Start your informational session by thanking them for their time and expertise. Be friendly and trust their experience. And be sure to show respectful interest during the conversation. Focus on being a good listener and asking follow-up questions.
Avoid flattering them, but do express your appreciation for their insights. And ask permission before taking notes or recording the conversation.
Be aware of your time. Make sure the interview doesn’t last long.
After an informational interview, send a quick thank you email and mention specific insights from your interview.