Getting your foot in the door with informational interviews


With graduation quickly approaching, I have begun applying for jobs, but haven’t had an luck. This is frustrating, but part of the process of looking. There is one thing, though, that gives me confidence among my frustration — informational interviews.

Since I was young, I have wanted to work in the sports industry. Currently, I am interning at a concert production company, and I have no previous experience in the sports industry from a public relations standpoint. But everyone has to start somewhere, right?

But, how do I start? How do I get my foot in the door? The best way to figure out that answer is to get advice from professionals that have gotten to where I want to be. So, here is some advice for landing and executing informational interviews.

Be persistent
Recently, I reached out to public relations professionals at three different sports companies. Initially, I thought, ‘they’re so busy, why would they want to give advice to a college student?’ After not hearing back for a week, this feeling sank in more. I then forwarded my original emails and reiterated my desire to hear their advice. Minutes after I sent my second emails all three executives responded saying they would be more than happy to meet and offer advice.

Treat it like the real thing
Make sure you know the company’s values and what it is working on. Dress professionally, as if you were interviewing for a position. Finally, bring your resume and portfolio pieces, but only bring them out if the executive initiates it.

Use your time wisely
Informational interviews typically last only 15-30 minutes. That is not much time when it comes to figuring out how to get your dream job. So, ask the most important questions that will give you the best advice.

Whether you want to work in a niche industry or at an agency, informational interviews will help you get your foot in the door and create relationships with professionals in your field. And that just might set you on your way to your dream career.

— Lindsey Tucker

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7 Responses to Getting your foot in the door with informational interviews

  1. Lindsay Pfeifer says:

    Good for you for being consistent and sending that follow up email! I know that I would be hesitant to “bother” them again, but it’s great to see that your second effort paid off. This post really fits in with yesterday’s post and I’m realizing that I need to start putting myself out there more. Thanks for the tips!

  2. I have always been weary of informational interviews because I know that time is short for you and especially for the person you are shadowing. I always feel like they dread talking to me. In fact, that could be far from the truth. They could learn from us just as much as we learn from them. Reading this post makes me want to go out and have more informational interviews. Thanks!

    • You definitely should give it a shot! Everyone I have emailed about informational interviews seems to be excited to share their story and advice. Time sure flies by, though. I have gotten about 5-7 questions in to the interviews I’ve done, about a half hour each.

  3. pdxsx says:

    Your persistence really paid off, Lindsay! What a way to kick some serious butt! Nice work, lady!

  4. Alison Jelden says:

    Keep persistent! Something will come along. I am always nervous to ask companies about an informational interview. One way to get over the fear is to ask someone at your current internship. I had no idea that informational interviews can last 15-30 minutes. Thanks for the heads up!

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