How to Email Informational Interview Requests

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An informational interview is one of the best tools you can use when looking for a new job. If you’re looking to discover available opportunities or switch careers, an informational interview is essential. Learn how to follow the proper procedures for requesting an informational interview to help your career research. 

What is an informational interview?

An informational interview is a meeting where you talk to someone in your desired industry to gain information about future employment. An informational interview doesn’t have to be with someone from the company you’re interested in. It just needs to be able to provide relevant information about the industry and career opportunities. 

Think of an informational interview as a form of networking. While you can gain valuable insight into a career field, an industry professional can also learn a lot about you, and the environment is less stressful than that of a job interview. 

Preparation is essential before an informational interview, so make sure you learn about the industry, the person you’ll be talking to and any open positions at their company. One of the most important aspects of preparation is learning how to make the interview request.

How to request an informational interview by email

Anytime you cold email someone, clarity is key. The best method is to make an informational interview request clear while also being persuasive. 

Here’s how to request an informational interview by email:

1. First, ask for help

The first thing you should do in your email request is to ask for help. If you explain your reason for requesting an informational interview, you’ll find people are receptive to requests when they’re helping others. Don’t try to make it complicated, simply use the word ‘help’ in your email.

2. Second, be specific

It’s best to include as many details as possible in the initial email so that the recipient is able to confidently respond. Asking to learn more about an industry and the company culture of a place isn’t enough. Mention when you’re available, how long the interview will last and where it will take place. Be sure to offer a time and place that’s convenient to their location and schedule rather than your own.

3. Third, personalize your pitch

Any industry professional you contact likely has a lot to do during their workday, so your email can easily be lost or ignored. You can stand out by adding a bit of personalization to your request, such as commenting on their career path or mentioning that their work stands out among their peers. This shouldn’t be flattery but rather an honest evaluation of their accomplishments. Be specific about why you chose to reach out to this person in the first place.

4. Lastly, make it clear that you’re seeking information

Though requesting an informational interview is usually done to find a job, you should frame yourself as an information seeker rather than a job applicant. If the recipient feels that you’re simply job seeking, you may be directed to the company’s career page instead. You can always ask about job opportunities later after you’ve met and made an impression.

Examples of informational interview requests

To understand how to craft an informational interview request by email, here are some samples:

Request with a reference

Subject: Patrick Clarke Referral for Informational Interview

Dear Ms. Diaz:

My name is Sean Reynolds. Your colleague Patrick Clarke suggested I reach out to you to learn more about graphic design from the person behind the Computech logotype project. I’d like to request 15 or 20 minutes of your time for an informational interview regarding the industry. Patrick indicated that no one would know the industry and its future better than you.

I’m currently working as a marketing copywriter, though I’ve been considering making the change to graphic design. I would appreciate your help to learn more about the industry and all the opportunities and challenges that come with it.

If you could spare some time in the next three weeks, I would be grateful if we could sit down and discuss the nature of the industry in detail over a cup of coffee or lunch. I understand your work schedule is busy, so I’m happy to stop by your office in Buckhead or set up a phone call. 

Thank you for any help you can provide. I appreciate this kindness. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do for you.

Sean Reynolds
Marketing Copywriter

Request without a reference

Subject: Request for an Informational Interview

Dear Ms. Price:

My name is Max Caufield, and I could use your help. I am a marketing copyeditor with a passion for photography, and I’m reaching out to you to set up an informational interview. I’m interested in learning as much as possible about digital image editing to determine whether a career switch is right for me. 

Before I commit to digital image editing, I’d like to learn as much as possible about the challenges, opportunities and future of the industry. Considering that you’ve been expertly editing photos in the industry for over 20 years, I can think of no one better to ask for help. Just 15 or 20 minutes of your time should suffice, and I’m happy to meet you in your office downtown if that’s easiest for you.

I appreciate any help you can offer. Thank you for your kind generosity.

Max Caufield
Marketing Copy Editor

Request to someone you know

Subject: Getting Together and Gathering Information

Hi Chloe,

I hope you’re doing well. I could use your help.

I’m approaching my seventh year at Adtech working as a copywriter, and I’m thinking about opportunities to grow my skill set. I was always fascinated by your work as a journalist, so I’m requesting a chance to sit down with you to learn more about the industry, its challenges and your experience with it. 

If you could spare some time in the next three weeks or so to get together for coffee or lunch, I’d appreciate it. I know you’re busy, so all I’m asking for is just 15 or 20 minutes of your time. We can even do it over the phone if that’s easiest for you.

Thanks for your assistance. If you need any help from me, just let me know.

Rachel Amber