This past Friday, the season of informational interviews began for me. One down and 7 to go. While I was nervous at first, I was surprised how at ease I was discussing public relations, social media and the communications industry. After spending almost four years studying and after five internships, I've soaked up quite a bit of knowledge about the industry and have found it to be one of my favorite topics of conversation. Don't get me wrong, I know that I have much to learn. I am just so eager to hit the ground running!
I have two more tomorrow and as I sit here listening to Christmas music, I'm preparing for them both. Preparation is vital to the success of an informational interview. It shows great respect for the person you're meeting with and being prepared will make you feel more confident. I would like to give a big THANK YOU to Kelli Matthews, Pat Curtin and Tom Hagley for their tremendous support and encouragement throughout this process.
Here are some articles that have been helpful for me in this process:
The New York Times http://shiftingcareers.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/01/29/mastering-the-informational-interview/
Bad Pitch Blog http://badpitch.blogspot.com/2009/11/landing-interview-vs-getting-job.html
Cornell Law School Career Center http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/careers/students/explore_options/informational_interview.cfm
Vanderbilt Career Center http://www.vanderbilt.edu/career/students/getArticle.php?article=65
Here are some general tips:
1. Do your homework! I know it's Chrismtas break, but after June you're signing your life away to two weeks vacation anyways, so you'd better get used to it now. Research the person you're interviewing and the company they work for.
2. Write up some thoughtful and inquisitive questions.
3. Bring your portfolio and be prepared to present it if time allows and the situation is appropriate.
4. Bring business cards and copies of your résumé.
5. Write a handwritten thank you note once you get home and send it out that same day.
Moreover, be confident in who you are and what you have to offer! What tips do you have? What have you found useful?