Once you have identified the professional(s) you would like to interview, it is time to make contact to schedule the interview. You can request an interview through an introductory email, LinkedIn, a phone call or by asking in person.
Rather than writing a letter asking for a job interview, you are writing a letter asking for an informational interview. Be sure to maintain a warm, yet professional tone in your correspondence and always proofread!
When connecting with individuals on LinkedIn, always send a personalized connection request. Delete the standard "I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn." When reaching out to people who don't know you, you're more likely to get a positive response if you send a personalized connection request - just like personalized emails. This helps the person understand why you are reaching out to them.
LinkedIn limits the length of your connect request to 300 characters, so try to be concise. Once the individual accepts your connection request, you can send them a message to schedule the informational interview.
Phone Call or In-Person
Professionals lead busy lives, so if they are too busy to talk to you in that moment, ask for a more convenient time to circle back with them regarding an informational interview. You may have to first speak with an assistant, so be clear about what you are seeking and be courteous. They may be able to answer some of your questions, or may refer to you another more qualified individual.
Requesting the Interview
Whether you are requesting the interview via email, LinkedIn, phone or in person, consider including the following information:
- A brief introduction of yourself (e.g., name, year, major at Loyola University Maryland)
- An explanation of why you reached out and would like to connect
- Establish any common ground (e.g., you both attended Loyola, or played lacrosse)
- A brief statement of your interests in their career field, industry, organization, or occupation
- The best way to contact them to schedule an interview (if they are amenable) - don't expect them to contact you to schedule
- A thank you for considering the request
- If you were referred by someone, mention this.
- You are asking for information and advice, NOT a job.
- Limit your request to a 20-30 minute interview - if they are willing to do more, great!
- It may take time for a professional to get back to you, and in some cases you may not hear back at all, so don't put all your eggs in one basket.
Continue to Step 3: Before the interview: Prepare >>