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How do you ask for an informational interview in a cold email?

How do you ask for an informational interview in a cold email?

You have some great ideas and would love to get them out into the world, but you don't know where to start with your career plans. An informational interview could be just what you need – an opportunity to talk to people who are already doing what you hope to accomplish. But how do you go about making this connection? And if you're not sure of what to say when you meet someone new, here's a helpful guide.

We've covered plenty of ways to make friends online, so let's turn our attention to the professional side of things. The first step is to find potential sources (professors or other professionals) who might be willing to help you along your way. If they respond positively, then you can follow up with more detailed emails. We'll walk through one such approach below.

How do you ask for an informational interview via email?

The best way to think about these types of interviews is as opportunities to learn from others' experiences. You should always treat them like any other conversation, though – don't expect too much from them at first. It may take several tries before you end up having an actual meeting. Here's how to craft an effective introductory email asking to speak with someone regarding their work experience:

Subject Line: Informational Interview Request Example

Hello [Name],

As you probably know, I'm currently looking for information about my field of interest. My goal is to gain insight into various aspects of the industry, including different companies, projects, and roles within those companies. As part of my research, I'd appreciate speaking with you about your role(s), responsibilities, and/or challenges.

I look forward to hearing back from you!

Best regards,

[Your Name]

Here we've made reference to both ourselves and our profession – and used "we" throughout the entire message. This shows confidence, even though you're unsure whether or not they will agree to meet with you. In addition, by using phrases like "as you probably know," you show that you understand that they won't necessarily be able to tell you everything right away. Instead, you're encouraging them to reach out because you genuinely care about learning more about their respective fields.

Include links to relevant articles and podcasts or videos if possible. These provide additional context for the person reading your email. For instance, if you mention that you found a podcast episode interesting, include a link to it so that they can listen to it themselves.

If you feel comfortable enough, you can also offer to send over a few questions ahead of time. That way, they won't have to waste valuable time answering questions which aren't exactly related to their area of expertise.

How do you politely ask for an informational interview?

Once you've sent off your initial email, wait around for replies. Some will come quickly, while others may take longer. If the recipient doesn't reply within 24 hours, try again after another day has passed. Once you receive something positive, there are two major approaches you can take. Either you can simply thank the source for taking the time to hear from you, or you can follow up with further details about yourself and why you were interested in talking to them in the first place. Let's see what each option looks like:

Thank You Email Approach

Hi [Source],

Thanks for agreeing to chat with me about your field of study. I really enjoyed listening to your insights during our phone call last week, and am excited to continue learning more about your company.

Following our discussion, I realized that many of the topics we discussed weren't directly applicable to me. However, I did enjoy hearing about your experiences working at X Company, and wanted to share a few thoughts based on my own background. Would you mind sharing what you learned from your previous employment experience that was especially useful in terms of managing teams or leading complex projects? Alternatively, perhaps you had similar experiences working at Y Company, and would be willing to discuss yours instead?

Either way, I'd greatly appreciate getting your feedback on this topic, particularly since you worked at Z Company previously. Please feel free to contact me anytime if you have any questions. Again, thanks for being available to chat!

Sample Thank-you Message

Hi Dr. Smith,

It means a lot to me that you took the time to connect with me. Thanks for reaching out to answer my question about X Company! When we spoke, you mentioned that you led multiple initiatives at X Corporation, and that your team managed upwards of 100 employees. Can you please elaborate on the skills you developed to lead such large groups effectively? Did you ever face issues relating to workplace culture, diversity, gender equality, etc.? What advice would you give to someone trying to manage similarly sized teams today? Lastly, I noticed that you worked at Z Company previously. How does Z differ from X in terms of leadership style? Are there differences between organizations that are larger than 10 versus ones that are smaller than 50 employees?

Please keep me updated on anything else you discover pertaining to the above topics. I value your feedback immensely, and would love to hear more about your experiences with X Company.


Yours Truly

Above, we thanked the source profusely for granting us access to their knowledge. While thanking isn't necessary, it certainly helps build rapport. Next, we asked open-ended questions that allow them to expand upon their answers.

Follow Up With Further Details About Yourself

Alternatively, you can choose to focus less on soliciting responses from the individual and more on giving them an idea of why you contacted them in the first place. Below, we'll cover three variations of this approach, depending on your specific situation.

Interview Subject Line Sample Script

Dear Professor Jones,

My name is [your name]. I recently graduated with a degree in [major] from [institution]. Since graduating, I’ve been eager to begin exploring my options. Your reputation precedes you, and I’m confident that you’ll be happy to spend a couple minutes chatting with me.

While I realize most professors only have a limited amount of time, I’d like to schedule a brief 30 minute lunchtime appointment sometime soon. During our conversation, I’d like to explore your current position at [company name] and the challenges you faced while holding it. To ensure maximum efficiency, however, I’ll be providing you with a short list of questions beforehand.

Would Wednesday afternoon, May 6th at 11am EST fit your schedule?

Best Regards,

[Your Name]

The subject line for this variation reads “Lunchtime Appointment.” By setting expectations early, you avoid wasting anyone's time and increase the likelihood that an informative conversation will result. Also note that unlike the “thank you” version, this approach is geared towards building a relationship rather than gathering information.

Interview Subject Line Sample Script

Dear Mr. Johnson,

After completing my MBA program, I spent months applying for jobs across industries. Although I received numerous rejections, I didn’t stop searching until I finally landed a position with P&G. I’m now responsible for overseeing the production of thousands of products each year. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, I’m unable to remain employed indefinitely.

While I hate the thought of leaving my colleagues and clients behind, I’m hopeful that you’re aware of my qualifications. Given my recent success at P&G, I’d like to apply for your vacant position at [Company Name]. Though I’m no stranger to deadlines and pressure, I believe I possess the ability to excel under stress. Additionally, I’m hoping to utilize my prior experience to streamline operations and improve quality control procedures.

To maximize efficiency, I plan to visit your office tomorrow morning to gather data about your current workforce. Then, I’ll conduct a thorough analysis of your business structure and organizational processes. Before concluding our session, I’d like to briefly touch base on a handful of key areas.

Upon reviewing my findings, I’d love to discuss the following questions:

1. Describe your typical hiring process. Is it common practice to hire managers straight out of college? Or is it more common to bring experienced candidates onboard gradually?

2. Have you encountered any difficulties integrating young talent into existing teams? Has this created problems for your organization?

3. Do you typically promote individuals to positions immediately upon starting? Or do you prefer to mentor new hires over time?

4. How have you handled conflict resolution among members of varying age ranges?

5. Finally, I’d love to hear about your favorite motivational quotes.

Again, I apologize for bothering you with this inquiry. But I truly admire the caliber of your work, and sincerely wish you luck finding suitable replacements.

With Best Regards,

Yours Truly

You’ve been asked by your boss or mentor to meet with an industry expert who can help you develop new skills and learn more about their field of expertise, but they don't know anyone personally. How should you go about setting this up? The answer is simple: Don’t overthink it! Write an informative email that will get them excited enough to reply (or even agree) right away.

In today's article, we'll show you exactly what to say when you want to approach someone with an opportunity to connect professionally -- whether it be via phone call, video chat, or face-to-face meeting. This informational interview request letter works well as a template for any type of professional connection, especially if you're looking to build a relationship and work together in the future. But first, let's talk about why these types of connections are so valuable.

Why would you ask for an informational interview?

A "cold" informational interview isn't just a casual conversation between two people. It can also be used to discover ways to advance your career goals while building relationships within your company. And there are many benefits to having one, including learning from others' experiences, getting advice, and gaining insight into different industries. You might even find out where you'd like to move to (if you haven't already).

But before you start reaching out to people you've never met before, consider some other questions to ask yourself first: Do I really need this information? Can I wait until later to gather this info myself? Are my needs/goals aligned with theirs? What could possibly come of this experience? Is there another way to acquire similar knowledge?

These are important things to think about because once you realize you don't actually need the information, then it becomes easy to pass off the interaction and leave without taking anything useful away from it. Not only does this make you look unprofessional, but it hurts the person who invited you too.

So keep those questions at the forefront of your mind throughout the entire process, and remember that sometimes you may feel uncomfortable doing something that seems completely harmless. If you still decide to proceed, however, here's how to handle each step of the process.

How do you follow up after not responding to an interview?

If you receive no response whatsoever to your initial email invitation, it's best to take a deep breath and give it a little bit longer before sending another message. Sometimes folks need a few days to respond, and it takes a bit of time for them to schedule a good window of availability. Or maybe they got busy and forgot to check their inboxes. Either way, try again soon. Even if they didn't respond immediately, it doesn't mean they definitely won't ever return your call.

However, if you continue to send messages to nobody, eventually they'll stop replying back. At that point, you probably need to reevaluate your strategy. Perhaps you were approaching this incorrectly. Maybe you didn't explain clearly enough what value you hope to gain from this exchange. Or perhaps the other party simply wasn't interested. In either case, now is the time to pivot and figure out a better method of connecting with them.

How do you follow up after no response interview?

Now that you've sent multiple emails to no avail, you may wonder why you bothered. After all, you received zero responses, which means you wasted a lot of time chasing nothing. However, don't throw in the towel yet. There's always room for improvement, and you shouldn't assume that every contact was lost forever. Instead, reach out to the individual again and see if he or she has changed their minds since last time around. Also, remind them that you did attempt contacting them originally. They may have forgotten because you weren't specific enough in your original email. Be sure to include specifics such as date, location, times, etc., so they know you aren't spamming them.

Asking for an informational interview is often seen as a chance to network with others in your industry. To make sure the conversation goes smoothly, though, it helps to stay positive throughout the whole process. Stay curious, open to feedback, and remain friendly, respectful, and patient. When you do all three of those things correctly, chances are you'll end up with a great connection that can lead to mutual success.

How do you politely follow up after an interview?

After you finally land a solid offer, you need to thank the employer and express gratitude towards them for helping you grow professionally. A simple thank you note is fine, but you can also add in some details about how much you enjoyed working alongside them. For instance, you could mention a project you worked on together or share stories about memorable moments from the office.

When you send out this kind of email, you're showing the hiring manager that you truly appreciate everything they did for you during the interviewing process. That makes them view you differently than most candidates, and it shows them that you're a real team player. Once you've done this, you're ready to jump ship and start planning your next adventure.

And if you ever run into trouble finding a position, remember that you can always apply directly to companies online through LinkedIn. Just search for employers based on keywords related to your current role. Then you can easily tailor your profile to fit the desired requirements.

While applying to jobs online doesn't involve an actual human being, it remains a fantastic resource for landing new positions almost instantly. Plus, it allows you to avoid awkward conversations with strangers, making the entire process less stressful overall.

Have you had luck using an informational interview to expand your skill set? Share your tips below!

1. The Cold Email

Dear [Industry Expert],

[Your name] from  [Company Name]. I am interested in learning more about [your company's industry]. As someone working on my career path towards becoming a senior developer, I was wondering if we could schedule some time to talk.

I'm looking forward to hearing back from you soon.



If you are writing this letter, then you've already done most of the work -- you're now just waiting for the other person to respond. Remember, there is nothing wrong with asking for an informational meeting via e-mail. It's not as weird as it seems at first glance. In fact, it might be easier than calling a contact directly - especially when you need something specific answered quickly.

A Few Things You Should Know About Informational Interviews

They are informal meetings where both parties share information freely without any expectations or commitments. There is usually no agenda or formal business discussion involved. These interviews typically last between 15 minutes and 1 hour.

The purpose of these conversations isn't always clear. Sometimes people may want to network with each other, while others simply want to find out what kind of experience the individual has.

There is rarely anything gained here except valuable knowledge and connections.

What To Include In Your Letter When Requesting An Information Meeting

First, make sure you address the topic of interest clearly within your introduction paragraph. If you aren't certain how to approach the subject matter, check out our guide on what NOT to say in a job application letter before proceeding further.

You’ve just had your first informational interview, and now what? Do you send them a thank-you note or a LinkedIn message? Or maybe you don't respond at all because you're waiting to hear back from this person about whether they'll be able to help out. The thing is, if you don't get any kind of positive feedback within 24 hours (or even 48), then they might not think much of your interest in working together! And then again, if they never reply, you may wonder why.

So let's talk about how to handle those situations. You can either wait until you receive a call back, which could take weeks or months depending on the situation, or you can try sending another email right away. This way, you’ll know exactly when to make contact—and when not to. Let’s see what works best, based on our own experiences.

How do you follow up on an informational interview?

First things first: If you haven’t received anything yet, there are two options here. Either you decide to reach out immediately and hope the other party gets back to you soon, or you wait around hoping something comes through. There’s nothing wrong with doing one or both of these actions, but I would say that the latter option is better than the former.  It gives you more time to consider your offer before making a decision, and it also means you won’t feel as rushed into taking action.

If you choose to go ahead with contacting the other party, you need to figure out how to introduce yourself without sounding like a stalker. Start by describing who you are, where you work, and what position(s) you’re looking to move up to. Then tell them why you reached out to their company (because clearly, you found their profile online). Finally, mention how you met each other and briefly describe why you thought it was a good idea to connect. For instance, “I saw you on LinkedIn and wanted to touch base with you since we seem to share similar backgrounds. Would it be possible to speak on Wednesday morning?” That sounds pretty professional and friendly, doesn’t it?

Once you have a firm plan of action in place, it’s time to start following up. How often should you keep reaching out? Should you check in every day or once a week? Ideally, you will find out whether you’re going to meet with this person so you can prepare accordingly. But sometimes, you might only get a quick response saying "no thanks." In that case, you probably shouldn’t bother calling again unless you really want to pursue this opportunity further. It’s important to understand that you still made a great impression during your initial meeting, and hopefully, the other person feels comfortable enough sharing some information about themselves. They may even ask if you’d be willing to give them a call sometime in the future!

How do you follow up after an informational interview?

Now that you’ve followed up successfully, it’s time to make sure you stay connected. The easiest way to do this is by using social media. Linking in on Twitter or Instagram lets people know you’re interested in staying in touch, while posting photos of yourself interacting with others in the industry shows off your personality and demonstrates your ability to network effectively. When you post about your experience with the interviewer, you show that you were honest and authentic throughout the process.

But remember, you don’t want to sound desperate or needy. Instead, focus on being genuinely excited to learn more about them and building rapport along the way. Remember, you’re trying to sell yourself as a potential candidate. Be careful not to come across too strong, though. Your goal isn’t necessarily to land the gig, but rather to increase your chances of getting called in for an actual interview.

The same goes for emails. Even if you don’t end up continuing the relationship, you still want to maintain the connection by offering to chat whenever you bump into each other. Don’t overdo it, though, especially if you’ve already spoken on the phone. You don’t want to appear pushy if you’re simply keeping tabs on the other person.

For example, instead of writing, “Hey, I emailed you earlier today...” you might try something like, “Hi [name], I enjoyed speaking with you yesterday about [position]. As mentioned, I'd love to continue discussing opportunities in your field. What days/times are most convenient for you?"

How long after an informational interview should you follow up?

There’s no magic number here. However, generally speaking, the longer you wait between meetings, the less likely you are to actually speak with the person again. After that, you run the risk of coming off as overeager. On the flip side, if you don’t interact with anyone else for a few months, it can seem suspicious, like you’re avoiding them altogether.

That said, you definitely don’t want to waste everyone’s time. One month is plenty of time to establish a conversation if you’re truly interested in learning more about the person. Once you build trust, however, you may be surprised by how fast things progress.

How do you follow up on an informational interview with no response?

In this scenario, you’ll obviously need to pick up the ball and carry the conversation forward. Depending on the circumstances, you might not always have control over who responds to your messages. Sometimes, the recruiter has decided against hiring you (which happens frequently!). Other times, the HR department hasn’t officially approved the meeting yet. Whatever the reason, you need to be ready to pivot quickly. Here are a couple tips:

Don’t panic. While you want to know the outcome as soon as possible, you can’t expect instant results. Try to accept whatever news you get gracefully and act professionally. If you’re rejected, don’t sweat it. Just move onto the next step in your job search.

Be flexible. Maybe you weren’t meant to meet with this individual after all. Perhaps he didn’t realize you contacted him before his deadline expired. Regardless, you still need to proceed with caution. Keep checking back with the manager, and work hard to ensure you remain visible throughout the entire process.

Keep moving forward. When you’re feeling discouraged, remind yourself that this wasn’t supposed to happen overnight anyway. Take small steps towards your dream career, and eventually, everything will fall into place.

With a little bit of planning, patience, and luck, you can turn almost any informational interview into a real business relationship. All you have to do is put in the effort to follow up properly, and you’ll reap major rewards down the road.



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