Before I became a college student, I’d never heard of an informational interview. A normal job interview, of course, but never with the word ‘informational’ ahead of it. In fact, it wasn’t until the beginning of my sophomore year that I heard about informational interviews, and immediately I thought about how helpful they can be to an aspiring public relations student. However, it seems that many people don’t realize just what a few good informational interviews can do for them.
First off, the best thing about an informational interview is that you can go on as many as you can get, and you can go on them even if you’re already working an internship. Informational interviews are an easy way to learn about different industries within PR from an insider, who’s willing to help you as much as possible. I’ve been on 4 informational interviews in the last few months, all with people in different PR industries, and they’ve helped me decide just what I want to do with PR. Beyond that, I’ve made lifelong connections with people I know I can always go to for help.
Informational interviews aren’t just good for students, those people who do the interviews have an ulterior, albeit benevolent, motive. Going on informational interviews with students allows PR professionals to meet and get to know the people that in a few months or so, they may be considering for an internship or job. Informational interviews are like a more intense version of networking, and if you can make a good impression, you may be surprised what comes your way down the road. The key is to make a good impression, ask lots of questions and take notes, and then follow up and keep in touch every month or so.
So, anytime you get the chance, reach out and get an informational interview. And if you have any tips on informational interviews, we’d love to hear from you!