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When you’re considering pursuing a new career target (whether you’re currently out of work or simply looking to make the next step forward), I can’t stress proper fact-finding enough.

Too many people don’t do their research when they network. Make sure you really dig into the company and the position until you determine whether or not it’s the right fit. And that means finding an “in” at the company who can give you honest information.

But before you meet with anyone, you must develop and research questions that will give you a basis upon which to assess the situation. Here are some great starting points:

Research questions:

  • What kind of people succeed in this role?
  • What do you wish you knew before you entered into this job?
  • Can you walk me through what an average day is like for you in this position? What’s the hard part?
  • Given what you know about me, what do you see as my hurdles, and what would you do if you were in my place?
  • Are there specific certifications that I should invest in?

Assessment: questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Would I enjoy at least 70% of the job?
  • Am I at all excited about what I would be doing in this role? Note: this question is NOT “Can I do the job?”
  • Do I need to volunteer in this area to get more experience?
  • Do I need to take on other small jobs until I can position myself better in the market (training)?

By fact-finding with your contacts and yourself, you’ll be much more prepared to go forth in pursuing your new career target!