Informational Interviews


interview-reducedOver the past few months I’ve had the opportunity to have an informational interview with two prominent public relations professionals in Eugene, Ore. I wanted to share some key points that I learned from them.

I first interviewed Bridget Baker, Director of Corporate Public Relations at The Register-Guard. Ms. Baker described how the newspaper industry is severely affected by the economy and had a few recommendations for standing out from other grads trying to find a job. She strongly suggested learning Web design programs, such as Adobe Dreamweaver and believed that it is extremely important to know how to create and manage Web sites. She then told me that The Register-Guard is not hiring, except for in the area of Web design and management. Ms. Baker believed that although job opportunities are slim with the current economy, there are still Web-based jobs that are hiring. From this information I immediately enrolled myself in several ART408 seminars at the UO, which teach beginning, intermediate, and advanced Dreamweaver. It is extremely interesting (and fun), and I would recommend it for anyone who wants to learn Web design tools.

My second informational interview was with Monica Shovlin, Vice-President of the Ulum Group. From this informational interview, I received an internship interview that led to a part-time internship at which I am currently involved. Informational interviews are an outstanding and easy way to network and get your name out there. From this interview I learned more about the Ulum Group as an organization and discovered that it was a place that I wanted to gain experience from. Although public relations has been taking a hit from the economy, there are many companies still investing in PR because it is a cost effective way of creating awareness. Something that Monica felt was extremely important in public relations is knowledge of social media and how to use it in marketing. Everyone can use social media for personal use but it’s important (in the PR world) to know how to effectively use it for a company. From this advice, I decided to take a Social Media Marketing course at the UO to help me build these skills. 

I wanted to end this blog post with a list of the top 5 things I’d recommend to do at an informational interview:

5. Do your research. Make sure you know information about the person and the company before you go into the interview. Google them. It’s important that you go into the interview knowing basic information so that you aren’t asking irrelevant questions (and wasting you and the interviewer’s time). 

4. Dress nicely. Dress so that the company you are interviewing for would want you to work for them. When the situation comes, you’ll want to be more overdressed than underdressed.

3. Bring a polished copy of your resume and possibly a few writing samples to leave behind. Bring your portfolio. Even if you don’t end up giving them to your interviewer, it’s important to be prepared.

2. ASK QUESTIONS! This is why you are there! And don’t be afraid to ask certain question either. However, be reasonable and polite.

1. Lastly, make sure that you ask the interviewer two things: 1) Do you recommend anyone else to talk to? and 2) What can I do to present myself better? Both of these questions will not only show that you are professional and care about your doing, but they will help you in the future. Maybe this interview led to a dead-end but the next interview may lead to a job!

Don’t forget to send a thank you note and maintain contact after the interview.


4 Responses to Informational Interviews

  1. theadora says:

    Just letting you know I read your article. It is well done. I am looking into pursuing a career in public relations.

    • ninouye says:

      Thank you for your comment! I definitely think that informational interviews are important to help prepare a person for actual job interviews. I was a nervous wreck my first interview but the more I had (including informational interviews), the less nervous I became — and I landed a job! Good luck with your career in public relations!

  2. Pingback: And Today « 365 Sunshines

  3. Anisa says:

    It was so helpful. I’ve learned something after I finished reading it. I had knowledge on how to start an Interview. How to project to response and to be relax.

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