People come to me all the time with plans to start a new career in a different industry or in a new role. When they ask for my advice, one of the first things I encourage them to do is to reach out to a person doing that very job in their field – and ask them for THEIR advice!
Now, as a Career Coach, this is not me passing the buck. I believe you can make the most of your contacts by learning from their experiences. Everyone has learned something, and they’re almost always happy to share it if you ask. Start with people you already know. If none of them fit the bill, ask if they can help you find people doing what you want to do.
The next step is to fact-find with experts working in your career target. Fact-find for each career target and company target until you determine the right fit. But before you meet with anyone, develop and research questions that will give you a basis upon which to assess the situation. Here are some great starting points:
Questions for those from whom you seek advice:
- 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?
After that, it’s time to ask YOURSELF a few questions:
- Would I enjoy at least 70% of the job?
- Am I at all excited about what I would be doing in this role? 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)?
You can read more about this topic in my book, From Fish Story to Success Story.