As PR students, we are eager to learn and do as much as we can to learn about the business and make real world connections. An easy way to get the ball rolling is to have an informational interview. On April 1, 2015 I went to a networking event hosted by the Philadelphia Public Relation Association (PPRA) and Temple University’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). The event was appropriately named Careers 101: Your Career is Not a Joke.
I am usually not lucky but that night I just happened to have won a raffle for an informational interview with Jade Barnes, head of Marketing and Events at Shops at Liberty Place. I have never thought of conducting an informational interview but it was the best thing I could have done. I have learned some helpful tips in the process that I would like to share with you. Below are five benefits to having an informational interview:
Brush Up On Your Research Skills:
Find professionals in the field that are doing what you want to do. Follow their professional journey on LinkedIn. Look into clubs and organization that they are connected with. By doing the research, you can ask the questions you want the answers to. You also want to know whom you are interviewing.
Practice Your Presentation:
The informational interview, emails and thank you letter are all a reflection of you. Contact individuals in your field with professional emails. When it is time for the interview, dress the part. Show personality and interest by sending a hand written thank you letter immediately after the interview.
Write Notes and Read Them:
It is great to talk to a seasoned professional but you want to utilize their advice. A great way to do that is by writing downing their most striking responses. This way you have compiled a helpful list to look back on while you build your career.
Network Network Network:
We hear in school that networking is important. By having an informational interview you have the opportunity to network with the best resource a PR professional. This is your chance to make a connection and ask them to suggest other professionals to reach out to for more advice.
Internship or Job Opportunities:
It does not hurt to bring a copy of your resume with you into these interviews. By simply asking, “What are you looking for in a new hire” or “What internships does your company offer” can lead to a conversation you want to have. Keep in mind; if you are networking, they can suggest other companies that would be a good fit for you.
This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Obioma Oguekwe.