This blog was written by Tara Arora, our Campus Ambassador from the University of Maryland. She is currently interning at Focus Features (NBC Universal) in Los Angeles. Twitter: @TheTaraArora.
A lot of you have probably started your internships and have most likely experienced what we interns call “down time." or when your supervisor has nothing for you to do and despite you asking every other executive in the office for work, you’re still left twiddling your thumbs or trying to sneak on Facebook to kill time. As an intern who has experienced down time myself, I advise you to use these instances for your benefit and set up informational interviews.
For those of you who don’t know, an informational interview is a meeting with a professional in your industry of interest. The purpose of these interviews is to learn about their role in the company, get career advice and possibly see if what they do is of interest to you. Informational interviews are one of the best ways to network professionally.
Steps to setting up an informational interview:
1. Every time you are introduced to someone new, make note of their name and what their job title is. This way, you can determine if you would be interested in conducting an informational interview with them later on.
2. The best way to set up the interview is by shooting them an email. Tell them you are interested in doing an informational interview with them to learn more about what they do. Ask them what day and time would be best for them and tell them you will not take more than 30 minutes of their time.
3. Once you have set up an informational interview, let your supervisor know! I’m sure they will gladly let you take some time to learn about other people in the company, but make sure you’re not putting off their assignments to do so.
When the time comes, make sure you are prepared. The point of the interview to ask the professionals about themselves, but you must also be prepared to talk about yourself (your internship experiences, accomplishments and career goals). Here are a few questions you could ask to get you started:
-What are your responsibilities on a daily basis?
-What is the most challenging part of your job?
-How can I set myself apart from other applicants in the future?
Now go make the most of your time in your internship and set up some informational interviews – don’t forget to write thank you notes/emails!