Friday, November 11, 2011

Do an Industry Deep Dive before You Jump

After you’ve researched the basics of an industry and concluded the industry still has an allure, it might be time for an industry immersion. Before you start down a particular educational path or a full-on job search focused on what you think is your industry of interest, dig deeper to determine if that industry is truly a good fit. Following are a few suggestions for investigating beyond the basics of projected growth, required qualifications, and transferable job skills to get a better picture of the industry.

Read Up
Almost every industry has trade magazines, newsletters, and other publications that capture the news, trends, and topics current within that industry. Read more than one or two for a span of time—at least a few months—to get an accurate, current picture of what is happening within the industry.

Identify Companies within the Industry
Evaluate the composition of the companies within the industry; for example, is the industry dominated by a few large corporations or several small companies—or even start-ups? Next, identify which companies currently lead the industry and do some homework on these companies, their products, and their leaders.

Take Your Search Online
Search for industry-related online blogs, forums, and chat rooms to learn what people within the industry are discussing. When you’re comfortable, consider contributing to the discussion or asking informed questions. Identify leading industry executives and find out if these leaders or others in the industry are using Twitter to discuss important topics. If so, consider becoming a Twitter “Follower” of these key industry figures.

Think Outside the Box
These suggestions are just the beginning; think outside the box to discover additional ways you can educate yourself about an industry that interests you. Do you have someone in your network who is in the industry? Would he/she consider taking you as a guest to an industry association meeting, conference, or other event?

The important thing is to immerse yourself before you decide to pursue a particular industry.

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