Last week’s blog post talked about excuses people often use for not setting up informational interviews. Now that any excuses have been eliminated, it’s time to contact people and request a meeting.
Before doing so:
Remember the primary objective is to learn information about a profession. This isn’t a job interview. Your goal isn’t to impress the person as a candidate to hire.
Research the career field. Even though you’re trying to learn about a career, don’t waste the interviewer’s time by asking general questions such as “so what does a dental hygienist do?” You can learn the answer to this question quite easily through career exploration sites.
Check your calendar. Most informational interviews take place during regular business hours. See what days and times work best for you but remain flexible to accommodate the interviewer’s schedule, too. When scheduling a meeting, allow enough time for transportation, knowing you’ll want to arrive 15 minutes prior to the meeting.
Check your wardrobe. A business suit won’t be necessary, but business casual attire sends a positive and professional message. Ladies, does your closet have a nice pair of pants or skirt and top you can wear? Guys, do you have a collared shirt and pants (not jeans)?
When you have the name and contact information for someone it’s time to reach out. An email or letter is the best first approach. Check out the following sample email that can you can easily adapt to fit your specific needs. Notice the three important components: 1. Name of the person you’re writing; 2.The reason you’re writing; 3. Clarification that you aren’t requesting a job interview.
After sending the email, give the person about one week to reply. If you don’t hear back feel free to resend the email or consider calling if you also have the person’s phone number.
Once the meeting time’s established, it’s time to think about what questions to ask. We’ll provide a long list next week.