You’re still not crystal clear on what your next career or job is called. In fact, you’re still fuzzy! You want to gather information by talking to folks. Don’t just talk to anyone. Be strategic and extract value out of your time spent.
What to do and who to target
Even if you don’t know exactly what your “label” of career is, I’m going to assume that you have some sense of the industry (or types of industries). Write them down. What related industries work in tandem with your target industry? Write them down too.
For example, if you’re interested in healthcare, your related industries or companies might include ambulatory health care services, manufacturers, medical practices, health insurance companies, or home health care services.
Looking at your lists, develop a roster of companies that fit within those industries. If you’re focused on a specific geographical area, which are the companies and organizations located there? You might find them through the chamber of commerce in that area, your local library, through local business news articles, through online searches, or by talking to people. Some online sources for company information are Brint.com, Hoovers.com, Wetfeet.com, Vault.com, LibrarySpot.com, and Bizweb.com. To view annual reports, go to annualReports.com, reportgallery.com or prars.com.
From there, you can target people in those industries and companies. Dig up their names from directories or online search, through news releases written about the company, through information on the company’s website, or by asking other people. If all else fails, call up the company, find a live human being and ask, “Can you tell me who oversees sales?” (or whatever area you’re focusing on).
You can also find companies by buying lists. For example, if you go to ZapData.com, you can buy lists that will name companies by location, industry and size.
So, in a nutshell, here’s your basic strategy:
- Start broad, by looking at industries.
- Narrow your target by listing companies in those industries.
- Then focus on people in those companies or other organizations who can help you.
Why you are targeting these people
You want at a minimum, to talk by telephone and get information. You want to introduce yourself, tell them about your new career objective (as succinctly as it is at this point), and ask for their advice on how someone with your background and interest might fit into the industry.
Why? Because you’re fuzzy and what they know can help you get clearer. They know:
- Trends in the industry
- Problems and “pains” of the industry and in specific companies
- Other people in the industry
- Roadblocks you might run into
- What qualifications you need
- Who’s leaving a job or about to be asked to leave
- Positions that might be created in specific companies
- New business coming to town
- Ways to contact decision-makers
You can ask them about the best way to find a job in this industry or a specific company. In that conversation, they may tell you about openings they’ve heard about, or be willing to refer you to someone they know in your targeted industry.
Let’s go back to healthcare. People who work in a healthcare facility, for example, know what’s happening in a related industry or business because they deal with people there. They know people who sell medical devices or who work in health-related professional organizations. They know colleagues through professional associations.
This is important! Because you’re uncertain, your main goal is to get more information that will help you learn about the needs of your industry and what kinds of jobs exist that meet your career objective. Since you also want to discover positions (once you’re clearer), your other goal is to make a good impression. Then folks will be more inclined to offer you names of people in the industry or companies where they suggest you look. If they don’t like you, they won’t refer you to others.
Though it’s legwork, this type of strategy – talking to people – should help you get clearer!
In my next post, I’ll share ways to make that good impression!
I always love to hear from you! Please comment below.