Networking is an essential component of career growth and one of the best ways to network is through an informational interview.
These interviews allow you to ask questions, gain insights, and build relationships with professionals in your industry.
However, reaching out to a stranger on LinkedIn can be daunting. You want to make a good impression and show that you’re genuinely interested in their expertise, but you don’t want to come across as pushy or intrusive.
Fear not, as in this article, we’ll guide you through the process of requesting an informational interview from a stranger on LinkedIn in a professional and effective manner.
Why Informational Interviews are Important
Informational interviews are a powerful tool for job seekers and professionals looking to expand their network.
They provide you with the opportunity to learn about a particular industry, company, or role from someone who has first-hand experience.
Additionally, informational interviews can help you gain insights into the skills, experience, and qualities that are required for success in a specific field.
These interviews are also an excellent way to build relationships with industry experts and create a network of contacts that can help you with future job opportunities.
How to Identify Potential Interviewees on LinkedIn
The first step to requesting an informational interview from a stranger on LinkedIn is identifying potential interviewees.
You can use LinkedIn to search for people who work in your desired industry or company. Use keywords related to your industry, job function, or company to narrow down your search.
You can also filter your search by location, industry, or job title to find relevant people.
Once you’ve identified potential interviewees, take some time to research them. Look at their LinkedIn profile to learn about their experience, skills, and interests.
Read their posts or articles to get an idea of their areas of expertise.
This information will help you craft a personalized message that shows you’ve done your homework and are genuinely interested in their insights.
Crafting Your Message to Request an Informational Interview
The next step is crafting your message to request an informational interview.
Your message should be professional, concise, and personalized. The goal is to introduce yourself, explain why you’re interested in talking to them, and request a time to chat.
Start by introducing yourself and explaining how you found them on LinkedIn. Mention any common connections or interests that you share.
Then, explain why you’re interested in talking to them. Be specific about what you hope to learn from the interview and how it will benefit you.
Finally, request a time to chat and offer a few options for scheduling.
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Tips for Writing Effective and Personalized Messages
When writing your message, keep these tips in mind to make it effective and personalized:
1. Be concise: Keep your message short and to the point. Avoid lengthy introductions or explanations.
2. Use a professional tone: Your message should be professional and respectful. Avoid using slang or informal language.
3. Personalize your message: Show that you’ve done your homework by mentioning something you have in common or referring to a specific article or post they’ve written.
4. Be specific: Explain why you’re interested in talking to them and what you hope to learn from the interview.
5. Offer options for scheduling: Make it easy for them to schedule a time to chat by offering a few options.
Following Up After Sending Your Request
After you’ve sent your request, it’s essential to follow up. Wait a few days and then send a polite follow-up message.
Thank them for considering your request and remind them of your interest in speaking with them. Offer a few more options for scheduling if they haven’t responded yet.
If you still haven’t heard back after a week or two, it’s okay to follow up one more time. If they don’t respond after that, it’s best to move on and try contacting someone else.
Preparing for the Informational Interview
Once you’ve scheduled the interview, it’s essential to prepare. Research the interviewee’s company, industry, and role.
Prepare a list of questions to ask them and be ready to take notes during the interview.
Dress professionally and be on time for the interview.
For more insights and tips on interview preparation check out 7 Tips to Help You Prepare For Your Job Interview.
Conducting the Informational Interview
During the interview, be respectful of their time and stick to the agreed-upon timeframe. Start by thanking them for taking the time to speak with you.
Then, ask your questions and be ready to listen to their responses.
Take notes and ask follow-up questions as needed. Be genuine in your interest and enthusiasm for the conversation.
Dos and Don’ts During the Interview
Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind during the interview:
- Be respectful of their time
- Ask thoughtful questions
- Listen actively and take notes
- Show genuine interest in their responses
- Thank them for their time after the interview
- Overshare personal information
- Ask for a job or internship during the interview
- Disrespect their time or expertise
- Interrupt them or talk over them
- Forget to thank them for their time after the interview
How to Thank the Interviewee and Follow Up After the Interview
After the interview, be sure to thank the interviewee for their time and insights.
Send a follow-up message or email expressing your gratitude and summarizing what you learned during the interview.
If appropriate, ask if you can connect with them on LinkedIn or if they know anyone else who could be a valuable connection for you.
Requesting an informational interview from a stranger on LinkedIn can be intimidating, but it’s an effective way to network and learn from industry experts.
By identifying potential interviewees, crafting personalized messages, following up, and conducting the interview professionally, you can make valuable connections and gain insights that can help you advance your career.
Remember to be respectful, genuine, and professional throughout the process, and you’ll be well on your way to building a strong network of connections in your industry.