Video: Tips for a Successful Informational Interview

The age old cliche, ‘it’s no what you know, but who you know’ still holds some value for people entering a entertainment job search. But how do you get to know people in the entertainment industry when you are just getting started?

Brian Clapp, WorkInEntertaiment.com Director of Content explains an underused technique to get to know important people – the informational interview. Share your comments and thoughts below after watching – we respond to every, single comment!

 



Video Transcript for “Tips for a Successful Informational Interview”

Clapp: It’s the age old conundrum – you are trying to graduate college and get an entertainment job and everyone will tell you it’s about who you know and not what you know, which I happen to think is an outdated philosophy…but with that I mind – who do you know when you are just graduating college?

You’re kind of stuck in a catch-22 you might know some people from an internship or have a small connection to a cousins friend, but really building a true network…it’s a little harder than that.

So I have a new idea for you today, and it’s kind of a lost technique – it’s conducting informational interviews with people that already have entertainment jobs, especially ones that you’d like to have! This technique can really begin your junior or senior year of college, and even once you are first starting in your career.

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Here’s how it goes:

Let’s say you already have an idea of who you want to be in the entertainment industry, start finding people that are already in that role and reach out them. Make it short and sweet, just say I’m at this school, I’m doing this, I’d like to do what you are doing and could I take 20 minutes of your time to discuss how you got to where you are.

That’s an informational interview.

But before you get to the that point, lets’ step back a second – before you reach out to anyone, make sure your social media profiles are up-to-date and looking perfect. Your LinkedIn is tight, clean and updated with that latest you are doing and have learned, your Twitter looks professional and your Facebook page isn’t full of pictures of you and your buddies swilling beers at some party.

The reason for this is simple – the first thing someone is going to do when you reach out to them for an informational interview is check you out. It’s the first thing I do when someone wants to have an informational interview with me.  If someone wants to ask me questions about my career etc – the first thing I do is check Linkedin and ask – who is this person?

tips for an informational interview

The best informational interviews take place in person, but talking on the phone works well too

If they don’t look like they take themselves seriously, why should I take them seriously? I’m not going to spend my time helping them if I don’t think they are serious and worth my time.

So now let’s say you’ve cleaned up your social media and targeted a few people you think would be worth reaching out to, send them a quick introduction email – don’t go too long, keep it short and sweet.

Before the actual phone call or coffee, whatever you’ve arranged – do some serious research. Try to make yourself as intelligent as you can so that your questions evoke confidence in them. If you start out with a smart question you are going to get the subject of your informational interview to open up more and be engaged.

When you are talking to them, ask a question and then just listen and pay attention – take notes if you want, but do not interrupt and value them when they are speaking.

After the informational interview is done the key is following up – but don’t follow up by constantly asking ‘hey do you have a job for me?’ you will get tiresome quickly and phone screened often. Instead, reach out and see how their world is going, offer coffee, see if they have advice on a new technology, tell them you’ve learned something new that you think can help in your career. This is how you build a relationship with someone already in the entertainment industry.

Informational interview are an underused tactic – and if you follow these few pieces of advice you can start to build a substantial network of advocates that can help you find entertainment jobs.

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About Brian Clapp

Brian Clapp has worked in the broadcast media for over 14 years as a writer, editor, producer & news director. After beginning his career in Atlanta at CNN/Sports Illustrated, he switched coasts to Seattle to work at Fox Sports Northwest. In 2010, Brian began pursuing a new found passion on the digital media side, launching a successful website and then taking on the role of Director of Content for WorkinSports.com & WorkinEntertainment.com.

Recently Brian has become addicted to Google+ and LinkedIn so add him to your circles and make him a contact. No seriously, you should.

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  5. […] past the obvious. It will not include a section on doing the right internships, volunteering or conducting informational interviews. We have a plethora of other articles covering that need and we’ll gladly link you to […]

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