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More Career Tips for You

Finding a Mentor: How to reach out to people you admire

Career Advice |
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.

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.
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What a great way to open with people.


Hi - I would be interested in being a mentor, but don't know of the best way to start this. I get tons of informational interview requests all the time, but don't know how to formalise the process (can I even do that?). Would love to hear everyone's thoughts on that!


I totally advocate mentoring during coffee or cocktails! I talk about it a lot on my blog, Dinner With Nerds ( The less formal environment usually facilitates great, open discussion.