Resources for Knowledge Seekers

Career conversations are one of the best-kept secrets for career advancement, and KIP101’s goal is to help you take full advantage of them.  To that end, here are some excellent resources on how to make the most out of each opportunity for a conversation.

I.  Requesting Conversations

Reaching out for help, especially from a stranger, may seem daunting at first, but it’s actually a straightforward process that can be mastered with a little practice.  In addition, you can draw on the assistance of many well-written email templates, including these:

The email template that'll get you a meeting with anyone you ask

Use this informational interview email sample to build industry relationships


Email template: how to cold email someone for coffee

50+ networking email templates

4 email templates to make networking way less awkward

How to ask for an informational interview

II.  Conducting Conversations

There is no single formula for successful conversations.  That said, keeping the following in mind will go a long way:

Be curious and open-minded

The power of conversations lies in their ability to provide new information and trigger new ways of thinking, so seek to learn as much as you can from the person you’re talking to

Be grateful and sincere

Courtesy and honesty matter more than eloquence – you don’t need to be super articulate to have a successful conversation, you just need to speak from an honest place and show appreciation

Don’t expect every conversation to go as expected

Surprising and even awkward conversations are bound to happen – just take them in stride and remember that the not-so-great experiences sometimes prove to be the most valuable ones

Try to give as much as you receive

A vibrant knowledge-sharing community makes everyone better off, so don’t forget to pay it forward (or back) by being a knowledge provider when you can

For specific ideas on what to discuss during conversations, check out some of these articles:

9 questions to ask at your next informational interview

3 steps to a perfect informational interview

The 18 questions to ask in an informational interview

30 questions to ask in an informational interview

Don't network: build business relationships instead

How to find the hidden executive job market

Best questions to ask in an informational interview

III.  Following up on Conversations

After a conversation, don’t forget to follow up with a note to thank the person who helped you, address action items or next steps that came out of the conversation, and pave the way for future dialogue.  Check out these resources for sample follow-up messages:

Informational interview thank-you letter example with tips

5 email templates that make following up with anyone way less awkward

50+ networking email templates