Another part of the external research involved in a career search is to stand in the traffic of industries you may want to be part of. This is different, less formal, than informational interviews.
What I mean is: Find out where the people in your desired field hang out, socially and professionally. Then put yourself in those places. For instance, you’re interested in marketing, so you might join a marketing association and attend the meetings on a regular basis. If possible, sign up for any seminars that are offered.
If you want to expand your reach to local business owners, attend a local Rotary Club meeting or the Chamber of Commerce. There you’ll meet a cross section of businesses from a small entrepreneur to a local branch of a major company represented.
The bottom line is, find out where people in your desired field hang out so you can hang out with them and network. Even if you’re not sure you want to be in that industry, that’s ok. Simply explain that you’re investigating this field further and want to know more. You won’t sound wishy-washy if you are clear about being in research mode. This can be the final step in narrowing your list of career ideas. In fact, I honestly don’t think you can effectively narrow it without this step.
Action step: Find an association to attend within the next two months. Check when and where the meetings are held, and contact the membership coordinator (You can probably find this information online) about attending as a guest. Most associations allow guests to attend a few times before they’re asked to join.
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