The informational interview…how daunting does that sound?!
Although the term sound dull, the informational interview can be every new graduate’s best friend. It’s a meeting where you are able to ask questions, get the inside scoop on organizations, and you are able to meet with people in the field your are interested in.
As I am just beginning my first round of informational interviews, I had a wonderful conversation with Mac at Prichard Communications about what it takes to make a great informational interview.
Mac’s advice is simple yet good advice for any new grad to hear!
1. Make a good impression: Just like in a job interview this means you should dress professionally, bring a portfolio, and have your resume in hand (business cards if you have them too!). Arrive early and keep the informational interview relatively short, they should be no more than 30 minutes. You should also have an elevator pitch about yourself, just to give the person some background into your education, work experience, and career interests. This is not a job interview though! So don’t ask for a job!
2. Get insight: You should always be prepared to ask questions during an informational interview. You want to find out about the organization as well as how the person got to the position they are in. It’s important to gain as much insight as you can about your specific industry in your location.You should be prepared for questions as well, they might be interested in learning more about you (but again, this is not a job interview!)
3. Ask for suggestions: After the informational interview, ask if they have any suggestions for you of people you should contact or organizations you should look into. This allows you to make more connections and to learn about other organizations you might not have explored.
And finally, follow up with a handwritten thank-you note!
What has your experience been like on informational interviews?