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If you’ve attended one of my seminars, hung out with me for any length of time or just listened to me spout off, you've probably heard me advocate the use of informational interviews - that is, talking to someone who is where you want to be to find out how they got there, what they’re experiencing and maybe what they suggest you do to get there yourself.

Whether or not you get the interview and how much success you have with it depends largely on how you introduce yourself and ask for the time.

Here is an example of just such an email I received. I thought this was such a good introduction that I immediately called this person back.


I'm a fellow (job search ministry participant) - a marketing professional - interested in getting into (the company where I worked at the time). As a current (company name) contract employee, I am hoping you can help.

There's a marketing strategy manager job open that I would like to learn more about.

I would greatly appreciate it if we could speak about this for about 15 minutes - my objectives for the conversation are:

1) to get a sense of (company's) corporate culture and how I can tailor my experience to best fit it; and

2) if possible, to identify the hiring manager/contact information such that I can speak to him directly.

Thanks in advance for any help you might provide.

Why did I think this was so good?
1 - He let me know we had some common ground.
2 - He told me his area of expertise, so I knew immediately whether or not we were in the same field.
3 - He told me why he thought I could help him.
4 - He had already done his part by finding a specific job posting rather than asking me to conduct his search for him.
5 - I knew exactly what he wanted from me - a 15 minute conversation, and I knew what he expected from that conversation.
6 - He wanted help possibly indentifying someone he could contact rather than presuming that I would endorse him without knowing him

I highly recommend this format. It’s short, sweet and specific.

If you use this format, here are some other things I recommend when you do get the interview:
1 - Stick to the time and topic that you requested. If you want more time or to broaden the scope, ask if it’s okay.
2 - Allow some time get to know the person a little - at least enough so that you can sincerely offer to help them in some way.