How to Schedule an Informational Interview

Crafting an effective email is a work of art.

The Goal: Ask for an informational interview with a succinct, professional email.

1. The Subject Line

Begin with a clear subject line indicating your intent. Most business people are inundated with email, and will appreciate knowing what to expect when they open your letter. If your subject line is ambiguous (e.g. Hi), your email may not be opened at all.

2. The Greeting

If this is your first communication with the recipient, address them in a semi-formal manner using the salutation “Dear” coupled with their first name. While the US leans toward a more informal business style, establishing initial contact should be professional.

Briefly introduce yourself, and get straight to the point.

3. The Ask

Tell them your name, how you found them and why you are interested in speaking to them. This appeals to the American transactional orientation.

Propose two 30 minute increments that are convenient for you to talk. Ask if either of those times works for the recipient, and ask for the best number to reach them.

4. The Close

Thank them for their time, and sign off with a warm closing, including a detailed signature.

5. The Example

Subject: Current student seeking informational interview

Dear Carol,

My name is Olivia Adler. I am currently a first year student at (insert school name here), and found your name in the alumni database.

In my Operations class, we just completed the HBS case on Best Company Ever. It was fascinating to learn how you built your business into one of the top customer service organizations in the world. I would love to learn more about your role at Best Company Ever, and would greatly appreciate one-half hour of your time.

Would you be available either Monday, Dec 8 from 10:00am – 10:30am ET or Wednesday, Dec 10 from 2:30pm – 3:00pm ET? Please let me know if either of those times works for you, and, if so, the best number to reach you.

Thank you for your time.

All the best,
Olivia


Olivia Adler
MBA Candidate 2010, School
908-333-3333
olivia@school.edu
www.school.com

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2011 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

(image: Angelrays)

Author: Grayson Leverenz

Grayson Leverenz founded MBA in the USA® to help international students build networks, find jobs, and have fun in the USA. Hundreds of global professionals have benefited from Grayson’s intercultural workshops, and she has worked with people from Brazil, China, India, South Africa, South Korea, the UK, and the USA to build effective virtual teams and craft brilliant careers.

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3 Comments

  1. THanks for a great article, successfully got the interview i needed!

  2. Charlotte, congratulations! I’m happy the article worked for you. Thanks for the feedback.

  3. Clare Tuma – Hello Shauna,I was wondering if you still had some free tkecits to the birth and baby fair this Saturday in SF. I would like to bring my husband. We are expecting our first in May. Thank you!Clare

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