You’ve done self-analysis to figure out your job fit. It may feel that the next logical step is to talk to people. You could do that; but if you wait until after you’ve done some due diligence, you’ll have more focused and productive conversations later. Here’s why.
You have incomplete information and knowledge. People are busy and don’t have time to educate you. Think about how frustrating it might be for folks to get a call from you saying, “I want to get into the healthcare industry. Can you tell me where to start?” They want to help, and might agree to talk to you. But there’s too much to cover for this conversation to be as valuable as it could be.
A better approach to the conversation.
What if you could say, “I’ve been researching the healthcare industry and am exploring how to best tap my skills as a project manager in that sector. I have isolated a few directions, but need advice. Would you be willing to share some insights?” If you conduct online and book research, this is where it can take you. So, instead of calling people, go online or dig up articles, books and other published sources to help you discover:
- What’s implicated in the area you care about and attracts you the most
- What kinds of jobs might exist in this area
- What trends are influencing this area
This will help you confirm or disprove what you think – based on your own brainstorming – and will expand your knowledge. You’ll be better informed when you sit down and talk to someone. You can find information by reading consumer and trade publications, doing general searches online, and visiting market research or opinion sites, such as Gallup’s and websites that write about cultural trends.
Start your job-search research by being very specific, typing into a search engine, “project manager jobs in healthcare in Minneapolis.” Or, you might be more general, typing in terms such as:
- Project manager jobs
- Healthcare jobs
- Healthcare associations
- Trends in healthcare
- Issues in healthcare
- Healthcare organizations
- Healthcare publications
While you may not find all of these below, here’s the sort of information to search for. Take notes, and print out any data you think you’ll need later:
- What people do in these areas
- The kinds of jobs that exist
- Skills people use in the roles that sound appealing
- What the environment and culture of the work and organizations are like
- Who interacts with people in this work
- The kind of knowledge that is important to have or acquire
- Background or education people in these areas or jobs have
- Trends affecting this area
Begin at the most logical point you think of, peel away the layers of information as it unfolds, and pursue the trails you uncover that lead to other resources and discoveries.
A sampling of research sources to uncover trends and other data:
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- U.S. Census Bureau
- Trade publications
- Consumer magazines
- Fast Company magazine
- Fortune magazine
- Forbes magazine
- New laws and regulations
- What people discuss every day and need (or complain about)
- Trends are especially useful, One trend may create new job needs; another may speed the decline of a job.
- Once you’ve done research, write down your findings:
- The role or roles that sound most appealing to you
- What people actually do in these roles
- The skills required
- The kinds of organizations that might have these jobs
- The environment these organizations appear to have
- What the culture seems to be like
- The types of people you’d interact with
- Knowledge that’s important to have
- Experience that can be helpful
- Education that is required or preferred
- Ways to break into the field
- The geographical areas jobs in this field tend to focus on
- The issues or trends driving the direction this field or job is going in
How do you match up? In my next post, I’ll share some ways to do a reality check on whether your career direction is aligned with what you said you want.
What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear from you! Please comment below.