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Getting a Job With Informational Interviews: Templates + Complete Guide

How to network with informational interviews

Informational interviews are the single most important tool for networking your way to a great job.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the idea of “networking” your way to jobs — especially if you’re just starting your career, making a big transition or are (like me) an introvert.

Informational interviews are that the key to professional networking. They’re where you learn about the role, company and sector. After doing enough of these, you’ll learn a ton of detail about what it’s actually like to do a job, about what different companies are like to work for, and about what’s going on in the industry. A typical job search includes dozens of these — often in a single sector — so after a while, you’re able to provide people with a ton of useful information about what other companies are doing (one of the benefits you can offer people for talking to you). 

Overview of networking with informational interviews

Here’s the basic process you’ll follow to network your way to a job — whether it’s a first job out of (or instead of) school or a role as a company CEO: 

  • Study up: read in depth about the role, industry and companies so you “speak the language.” 
  • Put together your list: define the companies and people you want to interview.
  • Reach out: typically with LinkedIn and email.
  • Speak with them: introduce yourself and learn about their company and role (you make a good impression, and they’ll think of you when relevant jobs arise in their network).
  • Follow up: thank them, look for an opportunity to help them out / delight them.

In addition, you’ll want to make sure to understand:

Finally, you might want to jump straight to the templates:

What is networking?

There are several pieces to networking: 

  • Making new (loose) connections 
  • Learning about roles, sectors, and companies
  • Letting people know you’re available 

I used to think about networking as “schmoozing” and dread it (if going to a “networking” event sounds like fun to you, great — enjoy! — but you don’t need to like, or even attend, conferences or events to network). All the principles I write about can be done at a networking event if that’s your jam, but they’re just as easy on a Zoom or a coffee chat. 

At the core, just think about networking as learning and sharing with other people you have some shared (professional and possibly personal as well) interests — that’s it. Choose the venue that works for you.

Who can you reach out to for an informational interview? 

There are two main ways of selecting people to reach out to for an informational interview, either: 

A. People with something in common: 

  • School
  • Company
  • Home town / state / country
  • Common interest or hobby 

B. People you admire: 

  • Someone you follow on social media or whose writing
  • People who work at a company you love 

You’d be surprised who responds from cold outreach. I once heard President Obama’s former press secretary talk on a podcast about his interest in literacy and early childhood education. At the time I was working at a literacy technology nonprofit, so I reached out to him via LinkedIn (with no common connections), and he responded. 

That said, generally it’s best to focus on people who don’t get tons of random outreach, or to use media (like LinkedIn) that demonstrate your credibility and show off what you have in common (i.e. you can use twitter if you have tons of followers, or LinkedIn if you went to the same school as them or have lots of connections in common). 

How to choose who to email for informational interviews

Before you start asking for informational interviews, make sure you’re pointed in the right direction. Answer these questions for yourself: 

Then use your answers to put together a list of 50 people to reach out to (you can eventually add more, but don’t waste too much time up front on building a huge list… you want to start actually speaking with people as soon as you can). 

Here’s how to assemble your informational interview list in LinkedIn: 

  1. Search the function you’re interested in (if you’re overwhelmed, you can choose a specific role). For example: 
    1. “Product” or “product manager” 
    2. “Sales” or “sales executive” or “sales development representative” or “SDR”
  2. Refine your results, if necessary: 
    1. Try adding the sector you’re interested in the “keyword” — i.e. “cryptocurrency” or “transportation OR mobility” 
    2. You can also filter by schools, previous company, job title, location, and whether they are 2nd or 3rd degree connections
  3. Assemble your list: 
    1. I’d typically aim for a 50/50 mix of people around 2-5 years ahead of you in your career (i.e. they recently did the job you’re applying for and have been promoted into someone who directly manages it) and someone 5-15 years ahead of you (typically they might be running the team you’re wanting to join and able to give you a more strategic view of the team, company, and career progression
    2. Paste each person into a google sheet (here’s a template) with their name, LinkedIn URL, and any what relevant filters you used like their school or title, as well as any personal information you might use when customizing your outreach (if you find yourself doing this often, or reaching out to 100s of people you could invest in a simple and free web scraper like Webscraper.io — expect to spend an hour setting it up first, after watching this tutorial video, but this also gives you some experience relevant for many growth and marketing projects)
Screenshot of searching LinkedIn for people to ask for an informational interview.
LinkedIn search for the keyword “cryptocurrency” and people with “sales” in their job title.

Here’s how to assemble your informational interview list on Twitter:

You can also try searching twitter for people involved in particular roles (honestly, it’s probably not worth the extra time, though advanced twitter search is a skill worth learning). A few tips for Twitter: 

  • Use Tweet Deck to set up searches and see a stream of all the tweets matching your search query
  • You can search for both functions (“product management”) and roles (“head of product”) 
  • If you reach out to people with a big following, they’re less likely to respond
  • You can search for people who have worked at specific companies 
  • You can also try finding people with “@” in their title, as a tech company norm is to include past companies (“Product @ Almanac”)
Advanced twitter search operators are a great way to search twitter for people to reach out to for an informational interview.
Twitter’s advanced search examples, from Tweet Deck.

Advanced search queries help you find people to interview

One final tip when using LinkedIn and Twitter search: learn to use advanced search queries (here’s how to do it on Twitter, and here’s a guide for LinkedIn).

This lets you really narrow your search (like saying people “transportation OR mobility” or “find tweets with more than 5 likes in the last week mentioning product management or project management that don’t mention Google, Facebook or Uber written by people who aren’t Tim Ferris”). 

Why would someone speak with you in an informational interview? 

Whenever you ask anything of someone, always consider what’s in it for them. Often people get dozens of cold messages each week (and some get hundreds each day), so you need to both (A) break through the noise and (B) legitimately give them something of value for their time. 

If someone speaks with you, it’s a big deal — their time is worth $100s per hour, and they have tons of other things they’d like to do, so make sure to be respectful (which is part of why it’s so important to do your research before reaching out). 

Early career

In school through your first couple of jobs, you offer: 

  • Your own hustle — if you can do one of the projects here (or something similar) before reaching out to demonstrate your initiative, creativity and willingness to work hard and get results, people will notice and be excited to help you (and to recruit you)
  • Intros to other young hustlers — if you have friends or connections to clubs and other groups of people interested in working in tech, or are at a university with internship support to subsidize startup employees, you can basically offer people access to a great low-cost (or free) talent pool 
  • people wanting to“pay it forward” — this is probably the biggest reason people will talk to you; especially if you share a school, hometown, ethnic heritage or anything else close to their (and your) identity. People want to share what they’ve learned, “pay it forward” on behalf of all of the mentors that helped them along the way (this is, after all, why I created this entire blog). People just need to believe their help mattered for you — you can do that in the call by telling them how helpful their feedback or ideas are, and specifically by sharing how that changed what you would have done. And, you can also follow up with sincere thanks and explanation of how you put their ideas or advice into action — what you did as a result, and how you behaved differently than you would have without speaking with them. 

Mid career

You’ve accomplished something and know what you’re doing in a function and are looking for roles with more responsibility). At this stage, your value comes from:

  • Impressive accomplishments from your past roles
  • Specific problems you’ve solved that a company is working on 

Later career

You’re looking for management / leadership roles where you have a lot of responsibility. At this stage, your value comes from:

  • Who you know — both for help solving specific problems, and more generally for recruiting
  • Your experience and expertise — both in general, and relating to specific challenges they’re facing

How you add value in informational interviews

One great thing is that, in each of these stages, you can actually develop resources simply by going through a process of networking and conducting informational interviews in a structured way. Even if you never have a job, you can talk with people who work in, used to work in, invest in a specific industry or segment, so that you’re able to provide: 

  • Detailed knowledge of the market, specific business challenges faced, and how other companies have addressed these problems
  • Introductions to people who’ve solved specialized problems before
  • Understanding of how other companies have solved specific problems particular to a role that’s being hired (or the role of the person you’re talking to) — this could include things like: 
    • What specific skills or background to hire for in a role
    • How to build a waiting list pre-launch
    • How to address a problem of technical architecture 
    • Strategy for targeting specific user personas
    • Or hundreds of other questions particular to a specific market or business model

How do you ask someone for an informational interview?

Whenever you’re speaking with someone, think up front: “what are they trying to accomplish? why would they want to speak with me? how can I  make this a good experience for them?” Then, when you talk, make sure to actually ask them (more on this below). 

There are four main ways to reach out to someone for an informational interview, through: 

  • A custom “connection request” on LinkedIn 
  • Your university’s alumni message center
  • A cold email 
  • Asking a common connection for an introduction

Each approach has pros and cons, but here’s an overview — generally listed from easiest to most difficult outreach method. 

Approach ProsConsWhen to use
LinkedIn-Fast (don’t need to find email)
-Shows connections & common schools
-Very limited character count 
-Lower response rate
-Longer response time
-Very limited character count 
-You’re doing initial outreach (it’s worth reaching out here first, even if you intent to use another approach later)
-You’re reaching out to people with common schools and connections
-You’re reaching out to early and mid-career people
Alumni directory-Don’t need to find email-Shows common school-Higher response rate-Fast-Only works if you have access to alumni portal
-Only works if your school has alumni in roles you’re interested in
-Your school has an alumni network with lots of alumni in the sector you’re interested in
Cold email-Higher response rate than LinkedIn
-Enough length to make a great email
-You have to find (or guess) people’s email
-Unlimited character count means that bad emails are way worse than bad LI messages
-You’ve already sent an initial LI message
-You can easily find or guess someone’s email
Email intro-Much higher success likelihood-Takes more time
-You have to ask someone else to do work for you
-Stakes are higher (because you could make the referrer look bad)
-You have to write 2 emails
-You want to speak with more senior / harder to reach people
-You really want to reach a particular person (because they have specific experience relevant to your job search)
-You’ve tried other outreach approaches with no success

General tips for informational interview outreach

Your goal is first to get a response, then to get a call booked — cut anything that doesn’t move towards those goals. Always try to minimize the number back and forth cycles required to get to a call.

No matter what medium you use to reach out, keep these rules in mind (more info on writing cold outreach messages here): 

  • Keep it short — every word should carry its weight
  • Don’t give unnecessary information — only give people information they ask for or they need
  • Good outreach(or intros) answer four questions: 
    • Who is this person? 
    • Why are they emailing me? 
    • Why would I care 
    • What do they want from me? 
  • Research and personalization signal you’re serious — the reason personalization matters is because it shows you’re taking this outreach seriously (and are therefore less likely to waste their time — think about it like Van Halen’s request for a backstage bowl of M&Ms with the brown ones removed — it’s a way of checking your attention to detail
  • When scheduling, always give people a time option(or the ability to schedule their own time with a Calendly link) and offer to schedule alternatives — never just say, “when works for you?” 
  • Signal credibility if you can — the main reason people will take a call is to feel good about helping you out, and the biggest risk to that happening is that you will flake out, so look for ways to demonstrate that you have accomplished something, and people will be more likely to believe you’re not wasting their time 
  • Never ask for more than one thing
  • Always end with a question 
  • Never use more than two exclamation points in a message
  • If you need to provide additional details, do it“below the fold”  — I typically will add a line break (“****”) after my signature, followed by a short bulleted list, if I think they might want more information on a topic

Whenever people reach out to me, I’m always wondering: is this person going to waste my time? As soon as I see signs that they are — they go back and forth multiple times, they ask me random questions, they send rambling emails — I take it as a signal they’re out to waste my time and look for ways to decline engaging with them further. 

Why should someone care?

Here are potential reasons someone might care about speaking with you (that you can use in your outreach): 

  • A mutual connection’s recommendation: Taylor Thompson said you’re one of the smartest people he knows about XXX. 
  • You’re writing a report or doing a project that will benefit others: I’m interviewing a dozen Dartmouth alums to understand how they built careers in social enterprise and then sharing writing a guide to share with 400 members of the social enterprise club
  • You’re writing a report that might benefit or interest them: I’m speaking with 20 product managers at blockchain companies and compiling a list of the top problems people face and how other companies have solved them, and would love to include your perspective
  • You might be a promising candidate for their team: I got interested in business development after starting a campus organization to raise money for AIDS prevention, which I scaled up to 400 chapters, 20,000 members, and $10 million raised per year.
  • You have a personally compelling story: As the first person in my family to go to college, I’m trying to learn about different career options in tech, and I was really impressed by how your company has [INSERT ACCOMPLISHMENT]…

How to ask ask for an informational interview on LinkedIn

I’d start your outreach by sending LinkedIn invites to everyone on your list — this is fast, easy, and there’s really no downside. For people who respond, you don’t need to reach out through other channels; for people who don’t, they won’t even remember that you reached out. 

Your customized invitation to connect has a 299 character limit — your goal is to get people to accept your invite, so you can message them. First, invite them to connect: 

Click "more" and "connect" to request a connection on LinkedIn.
Inviting someone to connect on LinkedIn.

Then, click “add a note” to customize your invitation.

Click "add a note" to add a personalized invitation request.
Always customize your LinkedIn outreach to people you don’t know.

LinkedIn Informational Interview Message Template

Finally, write a short message that explains who you are, why you’re emailing them, why they might care, and what you want: 

Hi Taylor, I’m a Dartmouth student interested in product management. I’m doing informational interviews to understand how other alumni have built careers in product — and writing a guide for other Dartmouth undergrads as a result. Would you be open to a quick conversation? 
Add an optional message, asking the connection if they're open to an informational interview.
Sending a custom invitation on LinkedIn is a great way to message people for informational interviews.

They can respond in one of two ways: with a message, or simply by accepting your invitation. If they accept your invite, you can send a follow up message that is longer (more like a short version of the email outlined below): 

Hi Taylor, 

I’m a Dartmouth student interested in product management. I’m doing informational interviews to understand how other alumni have built careers in product — and writing a guide for other Dartmouth undergrads as a result. 

I saw that you [INSERT DETAIL FROM THEIR CAREER YOU FOUND ON LINKED IN], and I’d love to learn more about [INSERT]. 

You can schedule some time on my calendly (LINK) or let me know a good time to speak. 

Would you be open to a quick conversation?

Or, if they responded, try to schedule some time to chat in as few exchanges as possible. 

Using your Alumni Portal to find people for informational interviews

The Alumni portal typically will send an email on your behalf. Sometimes they have good search function, but it’s probably easiest to just filter LinkedIn searches based on schools. 

Screenshot of the Dartmouth alumni directory.
Most Alumni portals aren’t worth the hassle – just filter by “school” on LinkedIn.

In general, your outreach will be similar to the email outreach below, with the one exception of emphasizing the school. Here are a few ways: 

  • For more recent alumni, you might reference common clubs or activities
  • You can look to see if they are connected to professors you’ve had and like on LinkedIn (who might also be potential introducers below)
  • You can plan to share what you learn from interviews with other students, to make speaking with you a way to help multiple students and not only you
  • Make sure to reference your school in the subject line: Informational Interview With Dartmouth Student?

How to cold email for informational interviews

Here’s an example of a great outreach email, color coded to what makes it effective.

Cold email checklist for informational interviews

  • Use common connection in subject
  • Who you are
  • Why they might want to help you — first gen, shared school, guide for other students,
  • What you want (up front)
  • You’ve done your research (so are respectful and not likely to waste their time)
  • Your accomplishments — so they know you’re serious
  • Respectful in scheduling — make it easy on them 
  • End with question
  • Put details below the fold

Template cold email for informational interviews

Subject: Dan Bartlett Suggested I Reach Out 

Hi Adam,

I’m Taylor, a first-generation college student at Dartmouth interested in product management. I’ve been really impressed by your blogs on building a career in tech, so Dan suggested I ask if you’d have time for a quick informational interview (see my key questions below). 

Given your experience in product at Lyft and Google, this would be really helpful — and I’m writing up a guide to share with other students. This year a friend and I built a mobile app that now has 100,000 users, and I loved the experience — so I’m excited to learn how I can prepare for getting a job in product. 

You can schedule time in the next few weeks here, or let me know an alternative and I’ll make it work(as long as I don’t have class). Would you be open to a quick call? 

Taylor

___
Questions: 
Can you tell me some of the most impressive accomplishments you’ve seen in product hires you’ve made? 
What skills are you looking for when hiring product managers? What are your favorite interview questions? 
What are a couple projects/tests you’ve assigned when hiring PMs? 

Tips for finding someone’s email

One additional note: if you’re trying to find someone’s email, here are two tips: 

  • Google their name + company + email
  • See if you can get it from LinkedIn
  • Google “email” + their comapny domain (e.g. “email @google.com”) and look at the naming convention (i.e. is it taylor@, tthompson@, taylort@, taylorthompson@, or something else) — worst case, you can try one and put all the rest in BCC

How to get referrals for informational interviews

When asking for a referral, you need to ask someone you know to send an intro. Here’s how to do it: 

  • Make it as easy as possible — always draft an email that they can copy and modify
  • You can re-use your cold outreach email with slight modifications
  • Typically, it’s more respectful to ask the referrer to ask their contact if they’d be open to speaking with you (and only make the intro with permission) rather than asking directly for the intro

Template email asking for a referral for an informational interview

Here’s what this looks like: 

Subject: Intro to Bonnie Zen? 

Hi Adam, I’m doing informational interviews to get ready for applying to PM jobs. I saw you’re connected to Bonnie and would love to see if she’s open to speaking. Would you mind reaching out to her? I’ve pasted some language you can use below. 

Taylor
____

Hey Bonnie, I just got the note below from a really smart undergrad I’ve mentored. Over the summer he built an app and got 100K users — he’s now doing informational interviews with PMs and asked if you’d be open to speaking(his intro note is below). 

Could I make an intro? 

Adam
____

Hi Bonnie, 

I’m Taylor, a first-generation college student at Dartmouth interested in product management. I’ve been really impressed by your blogs on building a career in tech, so Dan suggested I ask if you’d have time for a quick informational interview(see my key questions below). 

Given your experience in product at Lyft and Google, this would be really helpful — and I’m writing up a guide to share with other students. This year a friend and I built a mobile app that now has 100,000 users, and I loved the experience — so I’m excited to learn how I can prepare for getting a job in product. 

You can schedule time in the next few weeks here, or let me know an alternative and I’ll make it work(as long as I don’t have class). Would you be open to a quick call? 


Taylor
___
Questions:
-Can you tell me some of the most impressive accomplishments you’ve seen in product hires you’ve made?
-What skills are you looking for when hiring product managers?
-What are your favorite interview questions?
-What are a couple projects/tests you’ve assigned when hiring PMs?

How to prepare for an informational interview

Before you start speaking with someone, make sure to do the following: 

  • Try to learn the basics of tech
  • Learn about their role (and possibly adjacent roles as well — like design, project management engineering, and product marketing if you’re speaking to a product manager)
  • Their company – Read their company’s website and any articles about them, to make sure you can answer: 
    • What product does the company make and sell?
    • What are the key aspects of their business model (i.e. if you were to fill out a business model canvas for the company)
    • What are the best analogues for the company — the analogies used to describe different aspects of the business model? 
    • What do you think would be the biggest risks for the company right now (so you can ask how they’re handling them)? 
  • Their sector – enough to answer: 
    • What are the most successful or iconic companies in the sector (who everyone wants to become)? 
    • What are key concepts or terms to the sector? These include both technical concepts (like how blockchain works, for cryptocurrency companies) and business model concepts (like subscriber churn rate for subscription businesses). 
  • Review their LinkedIn profile and look for: 
    • Their current role
    • Any career transitions you might want to ask about
    • Anything you have in common you might discuss
    • Any projects that stick out as interesting (or relevant to your current search to talk about) 
  • Write and review your script, including: 
    • Your introduction 
    • Your key questions — including any personalized ones

How to introduce yourself in an informational interview

At the beginning of an informational interview (or job application, or pitch meeting, or almost any other meeting when you’re connecting with people outside your organization), it’s essential to introduce yourself.

A good introduction will make the meeting many times more effective, because it: 

  • Creates emotional resonance – so people will like you and want to help you learn and get a job
  • Creates trust — it establishes your credibility and makes people more likely to work to help you 
  • Serves as your advertisement for why you’d be a great candidate — so people can see what’s in it for them in helping you
  • Let’s the person know how they can help you: 
    • What you’re trying to learn on the call
    • What you’re trying to accomplish in your next career step 

Template script to start an informational interview

Here’s what an introduction can look like. Imagine that I’m a college student learning about growth, talking to the head of growth who’s an alum from my school: 

Thanks so much for speaking with me. I’m really excited to learn more about your experience at[COMPANY] and with[FUNCTION] — especially given[SPECIFICS ABOUT THEM / THEIR CAREER], but first I thought I could tell you a little about me. 

I’m a student at[SCHOOL] and would like to work in growth at a consumer health company. I’ve been interested in healthcare and public policy because I grew up without health insurance, and my parents went bankrupt because of medical debt after I had go to the hospital. Ever since then, I’ve learned everything I could about the health system — I thought I wanted to go to med school, but during an internship I ended up managing recruitment for clinical trial patients, and I was able to cut recruitment acquisition cost in half by experimenting with advertising and email marketing. 

I’d love to learn more about your career, how your team runs, and get some advice as I think about preparing to apply for growth roles. 

Checklist for introducing yourself during informational interviews

Here’s what you need to communicate in your intro: 

  • Who you are:
    • Why you’re interested in their function 
    • Why you’re interested in their company’s sector (if you are)
  • What you’ve accomplished: share one thing that is both impressive and related to the role (if you don’t have ideas, you can look for project plans here or review project ideas for each role here)
  • Why you want to talk: share what you want to learn by going through what you want to discuss on the call — think of them as the different chapters or movements in your call

Finally, a few tips to you need to keep in mind as you craft your intro: 

  • Think about the story of self, us now — invite people to empathize with you so they’ll want to help you 
  • How to build credibility — the more you can signal your credibility with impressive, quantitative accomplishments, the better
  • Create inevitability — trim your experience, current activities and ambitions so they fit one inevitable arc… towards the job you’re looking at / learning about

How to conduct informational interviews as part of your job search?

After your intro, you can move into the meat of the conversation.

In informational interviews, you should aim to learn: What’s it like to actually do the job?

Here’s a sample call plan for an informational interview: 

  • What does the function look like: 
    • What activities do you spend time doing?
    • Could you share some of the highest impact projects you’ve worked on? Just give me one-line bullets, so I can have a better idea of what the job is like. 
    • Could you tell me the story of the most exciting project you’re currently working on? Walk me through step by step. 
      • Where did the idea come from? 
      • What 
    • (If the role has an established process or cadence, like product management, marketing, recruiting, ect.) Can you describe your team’s process, step by step? Walk me through what it looks like from start to finish. 
    • What does your boss evaluate you based on? Are there specific outcomes you’re rewarded for delivering?
  • I’m interested in learning about how to get a job in [FUNCTION]: 
    • Can you think of the most impressive candidate you hired for a junior/entry level role? Can you walk through what you found impressive about them? 
    • What accomplishments have you seen in applicants that really impressed you / were compelling evidence they’d be great on your team? 
    • What skills are you looking for in hires? 
    • What are your favorite interview questions? 
      • What do you look for (good responses)? 
      • What do you watch out for (bad responses)? 
    • Are there any red flags you watch out for, specific to this role? 
    • What are a couple projects/tests you’ve assigned when hiring for this role? 
    • If someone like me, were applying, what would be my biggest weakness / your biggest concern? 
      • What experience could I get or results could I accomplish over the next 3-6 months that would go a long way toward mitigating that?
  • Ask for an intro (here’s more on how and why to always ask for intros): 
    • I’m really interested in learning more about [SECTOR, COMPANY, or ROLE] — does anyone come to mind who might be open to this kind of informational interview? Would you be open to asking if they’d be willing to speak with me?

Tips for taking notes during informational interviews

And remember to take detailed notes during your interviews. I’ve gotten in the habit of taking close to verbatim notes on whatever someone says when they’re speaking. For me, it’s easier to try and capture everything than to process it in real time. 

Then, immediately after the call, I will summarize add three summary items at the top of my notes: 

  1. What I’ve offered to do
  2. What they’ve offered to do(so I can remind them, if necessary)
  3. A list of things that stand out in your mind after the call. You can always re-read your notes later, but these are just the things that broke through and you want to cement in your memory (or see first when you look up your notes once time passes and the call gets hazy)

How to follow up after your informational interview

Send a quick thank you note after speaking with them (don’t bother trying to wait a day or two, just send it now so you don’t forget). Here’s what to include: 

  • Evidence that you were listening. The main reason people are speaking with you is because they’d like to pay id forward and help you out, so the best thing you can do in this thank-you is demonstrate you were listening to them and learned from what they had to say. To do this, you can thank them for specific advice — or, better yet, tell them what you’re doing differently as a result of their advice. 
  • Anything you offered to do for them. Make sure to deliver on whatever you said you would do on the call. 
  • Reminder for them(plus draft text to make it easy for them). If they agreed to introduce you to someone or do anything else to help you, include a reminder — along with draft language, or anything else you can do to make it easier for them. 
  • A thank-you gift. If you have the time (and money), you can really make an impression by giving them a small thank you gift. This could be something like a $10 amazon gift certificate, or a SugarWish (which is bad if they’re diabetic but nice because it’s customizable and more memorable than a gift card… and who doesn’t like candy?)

Here’s a sample follow up email for after an informational interview:

You can modify and use it as a template.

Hi Taylor, 

Thank you so much for speaking with me — I know your time is really scarce, so I appreciate you using some of it to help me learn about [FUNCTION].

Your advice on[XXX] was particularly helpful: I’d never thought of[YYY] so now will be[doing ZZZ] as a result! 

As promised, I wanted to share[AAA] with you here. And, if you’re able to ask your friend[NAME] at[COMPANY] if they’d be willing to speak with me,  I would love to speak with them(and I’ve included a draft email below). 

I also wanted to share small gesture of thanks: since you love coffee, here’s a gift certificate to let you choose one of 500 different bags of specialty coffee! 

Warmly, 
Nathan

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