PR 101: The Informational Interview

When you’re interviewing for your first internship or job in public relations, one of the guaranteed questions you will receive is “Why did you decide to get into PR?”   Everyone’s answer is different, but the SMARTEST answers show your experience and passion in the field.   How did I know I wanted to get into public relations ?   Well, the short answer: I didn’t at first!   Then I went on a whole bunch of informational interviews.

Informational interviews are great because there is no pressure to “prove” you are worthy to work at the person’s agency/firm/company.   YOU are asking the questions, and learning if you could fit in the industry and the company culture.   And you’re getting your foot in the door – if you do decide to eventually apply for a job with the company, the HR representative will recognize your name and email among the hundreds they see for an entry-level PR job.   That’s a big deal!

Reach out to human resources or a contact at the company you are interested in.   Ask if you can come in early in the morning or around lunch time to sit down with a couple members of the team.   Express a real interest in the company, and ask intelligent questions.   This is one of the few times you’ll be able to own the entire interview, so take advantage!   People love hearing a true interest in their place of work and being asked about what they do.   And after you leave, do not forget a thank you note – even if you decide the company isn’t a fit for you.   While in the middle of a job hunt, you want all the contacts you can get and PR people jump around frequently.   You may have an amazing interview with a girl at a boutique firm you just don’t like, but next year when you’re in need of work she may be at a great PR agency that’s growing by the second!

Sites I like for job hunting: One Day, One Job Blog and Media Bistro

images via photobucket


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