Friday, February 10, 2012

Informational Interviews

I'm a very inquisitive person. I like to know about people, places and events. Of course, I also like to know about my major and future career field--public relations.

A lot of people go through the motions of college or technical training without ever really knowing what they are getting into. Hence, most people change their major in college between three to seven times.

Crazy, right?

Do yourself a favor; just taking classes isn't going to give you a great view of your future career field. Invest time in doing a little field research.

Snag a few informational interviews.

Sounds difficult, but it's really not. Just reach out to professionals in your field, tell them a little about yourself, and find a time when you can meet and talk shop.

I've only conducted a couple informational interviews, but it's been most helpful for gearing up for my future career field.

Informational interviews aren't extremely formal, but do remember:
  • Dress well: You don't have to dress to the nines, but don't show up in ripped jeans and an old t-shirt.
  • Be punctual: Though informational interviews aren't super formal, it's still important to make a great first impression and arriving early is just the trick.
  • Be personable: Being friendly will get you remembered.
  • Do your homework: Being prepared for any interview is extremely important. Whether you're there to find out about the organization or the individual, do a little bit of research on the organization's or the individual's achievements. 
  • Ask questions: This is the point of informational interviews! Just make sure you ask relevant and appropriate questions. 
  • Talk about you: This isn't the time to tell your life story, but do tell the interviewee about yourself. Where you are in school, your internship search or involvement and career aspirations. All is quality information that can help the interviewee give you helpful advice.
The best informational interview I conducted was with an alumnae of my university and degree program. I was able to inquire about how she felt about the university and the program, and how she got her job. It was a great experience and I gathered a lot of advice for my ambitions. 

She also told me to keep in touch and left the door open for an internship opportunity with her employer. 

You never know what an informational interviews can bring, so go for it! Talk to people, inquire and make connections and contacts. All are important in communications fields.

Rock out, kiddies.

- J

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