Reaching out to successful people you admire and respect is a wise career strategy. Take an inventory of the professionals you admire. Be brave and reach out to them. While reaching out to someone you admire may seem intimidating, it’s easier than it seems. Established professionals are busy, but the best of them make time time to mentor promising professionals.
I am always flattered when young professionals and even my peers reach out to me for an informal career check-up. I enjoy being treated to coffee, breakfast, or lunch. The invitation gives me the opportunity to pay a favor to someone who might refer my services to a friend in the future. It’s a win-win deal. Plus, it gives me the opportunity to be kind and generous and and pay-it-foward and that’s always a priceless benefit.
Informational Interview

Here’s an example of how to craft such a request:

Hello. I’m Caroline Kirkland. Lisa Jacobson suggested I get in touch with you to request an informal meeting – an “informational interview” is specifically what I have in mind. I’ve been working in the finance industry for several years and would like to explore the possibility of applying my skills in the non-profit sector. I’m especially interested in causes that support babies and children.
I’m sure you’re very busy, but I was wondering if your would be inclined and have time for a quiet lunch or 30 minute conversation over coffee; my schedule is flexible. I’d love the opportunity to ask you some questions about how you got started and how your career evolved.
Your input would be greatly appreciated and I will gladly pay the favor forward.
Best,
Caroline
Photo Courtesy of Jakob Sitter