One strategy many professionals implement to build professional networks is through informational interviews! By reaching out to professionals and alumni in your field of interest, you will get the chance to learn about different careers while also building strong connections.
1. Research and do your homework.
Before any networking, learn about the company, the person to your best extent to prepare for the potential chat.
2. When using a template, be sure to personalize your email.
A personalized e-mail is nice, but if you’re cold e-mailing, it’s about quality, not quantity. Most people will answer based on predisposition and timing NOT on what your e-mail says. You can easily find some templates online. But here is the one I use.
I hope you’re doing well!
My name is xxx and I’m a student at the Boston University Questrom School of Business concentrating in xxx. I saw you worked at xx firm as a xxx. I’m extremely interested in xxx and I would love to learn more about it.
If you’re open to it, I’d love to buy you a cup of coffee sometime soon so I can ask you some questions and learn more about you and your career.
I understand your schedule may be busy, so I’m also happy to pass along some questions via email if that’s easier for you.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
3. During the call & Follow up!
Once the person responds to you and you set up a time to speak, put it down on your calendar and set a reminder for about 15 minutes before the time of the call. When the reminder pops up on your laptop, tablet or phone, find a quiet place where you won’t get interrupted and turn your notification sounds off so they don’t hear all the texts, emails and reminders hitting your phone during the call. During the call, never be the person to initiate talks about finance or anything work-related. Be comfortable with small talk and engage them with other conversation topics. This is the chance you turn your relationship to an actual job or internship. A lot of people forget to follow up after the informational interview, so be sure to stay in touch over time to further maintain and strengthen your relationship.
4. Say thank you and ask for additional contacts
After a call, you should always express gratitude in a thank you email, and be sure to ask, “Is there anyone else I should talk to?” This can help expand your network!
For more tips, please stop by UDC for career walk-in’s Monday-Friday 10am-4pm to get your outreach emails reviewed and to help prepare for your upcoming networking conversation.