How To Ask For An Informational Interview: The Definitive Guide [Email Scripts Included]
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How To Ask For An Informational Interview: The Definitive Guide [Email Scripts Included]

By Brandon | Uncategorized

How To Ask For An Informational Interview: The Definitive Guide [Email Scripts Included]

This guide will show you exactly how to ask for an informational interview.

Including:

  • 5 MUST use email fundamentals that will make your outreach stand out
  • Exact scripts you can borrow
  • How to effectively follow up
  • The email framework that makes people say “YES” 

So if you want to land your dream job in record time, this guide is for you.

Let’s dive in.

About The Author

Hi, I’m Brandon Fong!

During my senior year of undergrad, I started searching for my dream job.

After a few rejections, I quickly realized that many “traditional” job hunting strategies simply don’t work.

I set out to experiment with several more non-traditional strategies, and I landed my dream job 9 months before graduation.

Today, I’m 100% location independent and get to travel the world with my fiancée...

... while working and learning directly from some of the world’s greatest thought leaders:

And, even though the term “informational interview” sounds a bit intimidating and stuffy, it is one of THE key strategies that helped me on my journey.

In today’s guide, you’re going to learn exactly how to ask for an informational interview so that you can land your dream job in record time.

What Is An Informational Interview?

An informational interview is an informal conversation you can have with someone working in an area of interest to you.

Simple.

Put another way:

  1. You either want to make a career change, or are looking for a job
  2. You find someone who’s already in a position you aspire to be in
  3. You reach out to them in a compelling way that makes them WANT to meet with you
  4. You gain tons of insider information about the field and career path you’re interested in
  5. While doing all the above, you get to build your professional network

Now, you may be thinking:

Okay, sounds interesting, but what’s the big deal?

Why are informational interviews so magical?

That leads us directly to...

Why Informational Interviews Are Your Job Hunting Secret Weapon

If you’ve applied for ANY job before, you know what it’s like:

  1. There’s some form of application process
  2. You have to submit your resume
  3. You have to compete with dozens or even hundreds of job applicants
  4. You have to try to impress people during an interview
  5. And on and on...

But what if I told you that informational interviews are actually the key to bypassing most, if not all, of those annoying steps above?

I’m 100% serious!

Here’s why:

If you do your informational interview right, there is a good chance your meeting will naturally result in an opportunity that will lead directly or indirectly to your dream job.

But here’s the problem:

Most people only do informational interviews 80% right....

... and the remaining 20% is where ALL the magic happens!

Let me show you what I mean:

Now that you know what an informational interview is, let’s play out a quick scenario between two people.

Traditional Tom

  1. Tom has done some research online and finds a company he thinks would be cool to work for.
  2. Tom sees that they have positions open, and applies online by filling out their form.
  3. Tom’s application goes in a HUGE pile with dozens, if not hundreds, of other applicants that may be more qualified than him.
  4. Tom happens to make it through to the first phone interview.
  5. Tom spends hours preparing, trying to prepare for every possible question they might ask him.
  6. Tom loses sleep because he’s so nervous.
  7. Tom has the phone interview and then has to wait a week to hear if he made it to the next round.
  8. Tom has to repeat the interview process with different people 1+ times, depending on what job he’s looking for.
  9. Tom ends up getting the job, but doesn’t have that much insider knowledge about the position besides his online research and knowledge gained throughout the interview process.

Smart Sam

  1. Sam does some research online and finds a company he thinks would be cool to work for.
  2. Instead of looking for a position at that company, Sam instead finds someone fairly high up in the company (let’s just say a VP).
  3. Sam and reaches out to them in a compelling way that makes them WANT to provide some guidance.
  4. Sam meets with the VP, and impresses him with how prepared he is, and gets the VP invested in where Sam wants to go in his career.
  5. Sam continues to develop a great relationship with the VP by following the advice from other blog posts on this site.
  6. The relationship naturally evolves to the point where the VP reaches out to HR in the company to see if there is a good way to fit Sam into working at the company, and Sam skips past the selection process and several rounds of interviews.
  7. Sam lands the job with several strong relationships already built within the company.

See the difference?

With proper informational interview skills on your side, you can easily bypass a ton of annoying work, land your dream job, and actually come out ahead of people who got the job in the “traditional” way.

Pretty cool!

How To Ask For An Informational Interview Part 1: Email Fundamentals

Okay, so it’s clear that informational interviews are the way to go.

But as you saw above, one of the critical first steps for Sam was to reach out to the VP in a meaningful way.

In this section, you’re going to learn my top 5 email best practices that you should incorporate in the outreach emails that you send.

Let’s start simple, shall we?

To begin, I want to give you an idea of how someone high up in a company might deal with email.

First, you have to understand that they probably have several hundred, if not several thousand, unread emails.

Second, they might even have an assistant who screens their emails for them.

Third, when they go through email, they go through it quickly.

So how can we break through this “screen” and get our email read?

We’ll get into specific email scripts you can borrow in a bit, but before we get there, here are my top 5 best practices for email that will increase your chances of anyone responding to your emails:

Number 1: Short, concise sentences are good. Blocks of text are bad. Remember that busy people move quickly through emails, which means yours has to be to the point and easy to read. You might be surprised to know that most of the high-level people I’ve interacted with via email only respond with 1-3 sentences. For them, this may be all you have to get their attention and guide them to the next step.

Number 2: You can’t make them think. If deciding to respond to you has to take up significant time and attention, you’ve lost them. Your first few emails to them should be easy to respond to, and lead them to a binary “yes” or “no” decision.

Number 3: The 60 second and 1 thumb rules. Your email should take less than 60 seconds to read out loud and should fit within “one thumb scroll” on a mobile device. I learned these from Noah Kagan.

Number 4: Don’t be all formal and fancy. No “Dear Sir Jonathan _______” or any of that other shit other people teach you. Write to them as if you were talking to them in person. A hack that I learned from Appsumo is to draft your email in a text to a friend or in Facebook messenger so that you subconsciously treat it less formally.

Number 5: Use BULLET POINTS. Bullet points are a skimmer’s best friend. The more you can break things into bullet points, the better. Sometimes people are skimming, and the bullet points force their attention. If the bullet points are interesting, they will go back and read the other things that you wrote.

When you apply those 5 simple strategies, your emails will be 99x better than the majority of emails clogging their inbox. 







WANT TO LEARN HOW TO MAKE PEOPLE DROOL OVER RESPONDING TO YOUR EMAILS?

I used to suck at writing emails. But after sending literally thousands of them, I've developed a proven "checklist" that dramatically increases response. 

Just let me know where to send it!

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How To Ask For An Informational Interview Part 2: My Favorite Email Framework

Alright.

Now that you’ve learned the email fundamentals that lead to people actually responding to you, let’s take the next step and learn one of my favorite email frameworks to use.

After this, I’ll give you some scripts you can borrow.

I just wanted to quickly teach you the framework so you can write incredible outreach emails on your own without me just giving everything to you 🙂

You’ll notice that each of the emails I’ll give you follow a specific formula.

(In case you’re interested, I learned this from the Growth Tools Partnership Accelerator — details on the framework here)

  • Anchor
  • Win
  • Ask

Right in the beginning of your email, you have to start with an “anchor”.

Essentially, this just means that you have to prove to the person that you’re not some random weirdo on the internet.

People get random requests to do things via email all day, and those kinds of emails get immediately ignored.

So your job is to develop some rapport and show them that you took the time to research them right off the bat by using an “anchor”.

This could mean:

  • Mentioning something you have in common with them
  • Telling them what benefits you got from a piece of their content
  • Complimenting an achievement of theirs
  • Complimenting something on their LinkedIn profile
  • Mentioning a mutual connection

You get the idea.

The next part of the email is the “win”.

Now normally in some kind of a partnership pitch, the win would probably result in some big benefit to the person you’re reaching out to (more leads, more people looking at their content, more customers, etc).

But when you are asking for an informational interview, the “win” for them is actually getting to help you out AND HAVING THEIR TIME BE WORTH IT.

The last part there is key.

You have to demonstrate to them in the “win” that you’re the kind of person who will actually take action on the advice that they provide you. It’ll make them feel good that you got results from the time you spent together.

The last part of the email is the “ask”.

This part is simple. The email MUST end in a clear yes/no question.

This follows tip #2 for the email fundamentals that I gave you where you “can’t make them think”.

In the Growth Tools framework, the ask at the end is almost always “are you interested?” but that is modified a bit for our situation.

Now that you know the framework, let’s dive into the specific scripts that you can use!

How To Ask For An Informational Interview Part 3: Email Scripts You Can Borrow

Alright here’s the part you’ve probably been waiting for: Exact email scripts you can borrow!

Notice how each of the scripts provided follow both my favorite email framework and the email fundamentals I provided you.

Now that you have those, you could craft an email of your own.

BUT, here are some examples of how to ask for an informational interview:

Subject: Love your work [NAME]!

Hi ____________-

My name is [YOUR NAME (put a link to your LinkedIn Profile as a bonus)] and I [TELL THEM HOW YOU CAME ACROSS THEM ONLINE].

I'm impressed with what you have done, and [SPECIFIC EXAMPLE OF HOW YOU RESONATE WITH THEIR WORK].

I'm [QUICK SENTENCE OF WHAT YOU DO]. I'm currently [YOUR CURRENT GOAL] and was hoping to get your advice for ~20 minutes.

I was hoping to learn more about how you [DID THING 1], and [DID THING 2].

Would it be possible for us to chat? If so, I'm free any day early morning and late afternoons. I'm flexible and can adjust to your schedule to make something work!

If you want to see what that script looks like filled out, here’s an exact email I’ve sent, which actually resulted in me making one of my best friends today:

Subject: Love the site!

Hi NAME-

My name is Brandon Fong and I found your site from ___________’s about page. I'm super impressed with what you have done so far, and totally relate to your about page because I started my blog as a college student too!

I'm a college senior and recently wrote my first book which ended up becoming a bestseller in 4 different categories on Amazon, got featured in the Huffington Post, and received reviews from Kevin Harrington, original shark on Shark Tank.

I'm currently exploring different options after graduation and would love to get your advice for ~20 minutes.

I was hoping to pick your brain about how you have grown your consulting business, how you got featured in IWT, and some of the work you have done with __________.

Would it be possible for us to chat? If so, I'm free any day early morning and late afternoons. I'm flexible and can adjust to your schedule to make something work!

What To Do When They Don’t Respond: Email Follow Ups

Now at this point, you you may be thinking be thinking:

What happens if they don’t respond? Then what? Does all my work just go out the window?

Well, first of all, it’s important to set the proper expectations going into this.

As with anything in life, you aren’t going to have a 100% success rate.

Some people won’t respond to you, no matter how incredible of an email you write.

Don’t take it personally, and don’t take it as a death sentence. Keep this person on your list of people you’d like to contact, and, maybe in the future, you can reach out to them with a warm introduction.

For those of you who don’t have that much experience with email, you might be surprised to find out that many people don’t respond to a first email.

This is where the follow up becomes critical. But it must be executed properly.

Unfortunately, there is a fine line between following up and just being plain annoying, but there are several ways that I’ll typically follow up with someone if I’ve reached out and not heard back.

For each of these, it’s important to simply hit reply to the original email that you sent, rather than a new one.

Because most people use “conversation threading,” a common email feature that groups together messages in the same conversation, this will effectively bring conversations up to the top of someone’s inbox.

Here are a few strategies that I like. 

Strategy #1: The “quick bump” 

Hi [Name]-

Just floating this to the top of your inbox in case it got lost. 

Strategy #2: More results 

This one is perhaps my favorite kind of follow up, because it’s a super easy way to get their attention again in a positive way.

However, this one is a bit more situational and used for people who produce some form of content.

Here, you simply go back to go back to another piece of their content and execute on what they suggested.

Then you go back and use your results in the follow up:

Hi NAME-

I just wanted to follow up on the email I sent last [day of the week email was sent] about [subject of email].

After I sent that last email, I [describe more results]. Thanks again!

Strategy #3: To the point

Hi NAME-

I just wanted to follow up to see what you thought about [subject of email].

Let me know!

If you’ve sent one of these emails after your initial outreach and they still don’t respond, I’d personally still follow up 1-2 more times.

Persistence is key.

If they don’t respond to one of the above emails, my next email would reply to the same thread and say something like this:

Hi NAME-

Just wanted to follow back up on this one last time.

I would still love to [Repeat you CTA] if you could spare 20 minutes.

How does [DAY OF THE WEEK] work for you?

I’m flexible and happy to do whatever is most convenient for you.

The FINAL follow up I’ll send is another email I learned from Growth Tools, and it goes something like this:

Hey NAME-

You obviously aren’t interested in having a conversation. No worries at all 🙂

If you have 2 minutes, would you mind telling me why not?

I’m constantly looking to improve and would love to learn from you.

You’d be surprised how often you’ll get a response from one of these follow ups.

Again, persistence is key!

Summary and Conclusion

I think that just about covers it for everything you need to know to ask for an informational interview!

As a reminder, if you want to get a PDF of my email cheat sheet that you can use whenever you want to reach out to someone, you can do that right here.

Besides that, now I’d like to hear from you:

What’s your #1 takeaway from this guide?

Do you have any questions?

Leave a comment below and let me know!

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