How I approach my Job Search – Part II

Mar 23, 2011 | Career

In the first part of this series I discussed very generally how I go about my job search, focusing on how critical it is to refine your interest and network by conducting as many informational interviews as possible. As a recent college graduate or current student, you have an unbelievable network at your disposal. Utilize friends, family and alumni to network and reach out to everyone who is willing to speak with you.

Although alumni are often willing to speak with you about their career, they hate receiving poorly written emails from students who bluntly ask for a job. In this post I’m going to give some basic informational interview request tips and then provide a sample email I recently sent out to an NYU Schack alum requesting an informational interview:

  • Email a brief introduction and request a time to talk
  • Maximize the subject line, “Question from Tufts senior, ” “Referral from Joe Smith”
  • Proof for protection, assume your email will be passed around or printed
  • Customize your email to the contacts background and your interests
  • Don’t expect immediate responses, follow-up in a week or so by phone or email

Here is a sample email I recently sent to an alum of NYU Schack. Remember, people who enjoy their work and career like to talk about it, why do you think there are so many bloggers out there. Just be mindful of their busy schedules.

Subject: “Question from NYU Schack Alumni, Referral from ___________”

Dear Ms. __________,

My name is Joe Stampone, I was referred to you by my good friend and colleague____________. I’m currently finishing up my final semester at NYU Schack with a focus in sustainable real estate development. Over the course of my graduate career and through my internship experiences, I have solidified a desire to pursue a career in real estate, focusing specifically on urban renewal, an arena that will allow me to incorporate my passion for sustainability, economic development and entrepreneurship.

I would love to speak with you at your convenience for 20-30 minutes to ask you questions about your role as a community focused developer with __________ and get advice as to how I can better prepare myself to work in this field.

I also want to pass along an article from Monday’s NY Times that I think may be of interest to you. The article discusses the incredible work Greg O’Connell, who rebuilt Red Hook, is doing to remake Mount Morris, NY – The Last Townie

You can contact me at [email protected] or 215.808.5604, thank for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.

I’ve attached my resume and a link to my real estate blog as background information for our discussion.

Best regards,

Joe Stampone

I know my email is no literary gem, but it’s simple, succinct and gets the job done. Here are some more things to be mindful of when approaching people for informational interviews. 

  • For every informational interview you need a goal. Think about the information that will be most useful in your career search
  • Come prepared with open-ended  questions to create a good discussion
  • Don’t overstay.  If you asked for  20-30 minutes, be sensitive to that timing.  However, be prepared to stay longer if your contact indicates an interest/willingness to extend the meeting
  • After the in person meeting or phone call be sure to follow-up with a thank you email. Future communication should be carefully planned so that it is judiciously timed, informative rather than favor-seeking, and based on mutual career interests
  • Just because they’re not hiring now, doesn’t mean something won’t open up in the future

In part III of this series I’m going to walk through some of the more creative approaches I am using to find a job. Job seekers should be using all the tools available to them to make connections with as many industry professionals as possible.

What are your personal favorite informational interviewing tips?

If you’re interested in a career in real estate start here.