Once you’ve identified someone you’d find a lot of value in talking to for an informational interview, it’s time to send them a note. Your note should be clear, concise, and actionable.
As a reminder, if you completed the How to Identify Your Informational Interview Target article, you found these people:
The other person should quickly be able to glean:
Why you’re reaching out to them specifically
What you hope to get out of the conversation
What your “ask” is of them
Clear next steps
Email is always the preferred communication method because it has the highest open and reply rate (after all, we all live in our email inboxes!). If email isn’t possible, send an InMail message through LinkedIn.
Here’s an example of what to say when requesting an informational interview:
I noticed on LinkedIn you also know Jay Patel (we went to college together — he’s the best!), and I wanted to reach out. I’ve been interested in transitioning into product management and noticed you’re in that role at Acme Corp.
I’d love to learn more about your transition into product management from engineering. I’m currently an engineer at Bindo, so understanding the steps you took would be beneficial.
If you’re open to it, I’m around over the next week or so for a 20-minute call. Some times that work for me:
Friday (1/22) between noon and 3pm PT
Monday (1/29) any time after 4pm PT
Let me know what works best for you. And, of course, no worries if you don’t have the time! Warm Regards,
Notice that this example has all of the critical components of a successful message:
Why you’re reaching out to them specifically (you both know Jay, and she made a similar career pivot)
What you hope to get out of the conversation (understanding of how to pivot from engineering into product management)
What your “ask” is of them (a 20-minute call)
Clear next steps (how does Friday, 1/22 sound?)
There are going to be times when an email is just not possible. In these scenarios, go with an InMail message through LinkedIn. InMail is preferable to a connection request because it is delivered to the recipient via their email inbox.
Here’s an example of a great InMail outreach message:
Patrick Powers mentioned your name in a recent conversation because he thought you’d have a good perspective for me about what it’s like working at a seed-stage startup. I’m currently working at a Fortune 500 company but have always wanted to contribute to a growing, evolving business with only a few key team members.
Are you available for a quick call so I can hear about your experience transitioning from P&G to the three-person team at Swiffler? Perhaps one morning next week? Let me know what’s best for you, and I’ll accommodate.
Now, even with a flawless outreach message, you likely won’t hear back from every single person. Don’t panic. It’s to be expected. Reach out to several people a day (it’s a numbers game!), and you’ll have informational interviews scheduled in no time.