Informational Interviews – How to Make the Connection

Informational Interviews – How to Make the Connection

Written in collaboration with Engineers for a Sustainable World

After you have identified specific industries, companies and roles you are interested in (making a large brainstorming tree is very helpful), most folks go to LinkedIn and do a “company search” to find companies they are targeting. On LinkedIn, they select employees at that company who (1) are in roles they are interested in and (2) are recent graduates (graduated in the last few years). Job titles and pictures tell you who graduated recently (e.g., skip VPs, CEOs, etc.). Finding someone from your school, if possible, really helps too.

 

The next step is to send an email asking for a short informal ‘interview’. A smart, two step strategy is to craft a short message in your connect invite (it’s free), which if accepted, allows you to send your request for an interview for free. Your fallback is to purchase (or sign up for the free LinkedIn trial) and send an Inmail. Either way, you need to develop an email pitch template which you can (and must) customize to fit each company/person. A template example is attached here. Key structural points in the email are:

  1. Keep it short, several sentences
  2. Don’t write forever about yourself, selling how awesome you are. Shine the light on the prospective interviewee, on his/her story;
  3. Personalize the template email. Say something about the specific company and person (e.g., their job title);
  4. Be clear that you are not asking for a job, but rather for insight;
  5. Provide your phone and email contact information;
  6. Talk about their schedule & availability; not yours;
  7. The tone of your email should ooze passion and humility (you so want to get in, but you know how hard it’s going to be).

 

Using Dayaway’s Everyman networking platform (on our homepage) is even easier than using LinkedIn to find young professionals to talk to in the renewable energy field. Make sure to check it out, it’s a gold mine!

 

If you liked this article, you may want to read, “Informational Interviews – Getting ready”