By Kelly Gillis
Bid Writer & Contributing Writer at Quantum
You’re tired of doing the same work day after day but aren’t sure what you could do instead. You know you can’t afford to quit your job, and you want to explore your options without loads of risk.
Sound like you? Before you start applying to random jobs, take this advice:
Think of one field you’re interested in and find someone working in that area.
This could be someone you know, a friend of a friend, or someone you’ve connected with on LinkedIn. All that matters is that you’re interested in their field. Remember, you aren’t asking them for a job – this is an informational interview where you’re learning more about a different career. (Though this person could ultimately point you towards your next role!)
Next step: Take them out for coffee and ask them what it’s like to do their job.
If you’re truly interested in learning more about their area, the questions should come to you fairly easily. To be respectful of their time and to gain inside information that you can’t find online, prepare your list in advance.
Some good questions to ask:
- How did you get into this role?
- What’s your favourite part of your work? Most challenging?
- What skills are most important to get the job done?
- What do you spend most of your time doing?
- What’s one piece of advice you could give to someone interested in this work?
- Can you recommend anyone in this field I should speak to?
This approach to exploring your career options is low-risk and offers many benefits:
You’ll hear what it’s really like to work in a certain job / company. This valuable information will help you decide if you could do the job – or if you even want to. On top of gaining this insight, you now have a contact at the company, which can give you an advantage if they’re hiring in the future.
It will help you define the key elements you’re looking for in a job. If you’re having coffee meetings with several people and exposing yourself to different industries, you’ll be better able to identify the types of tasks and environments that appeal to you. Then, when looking at job postings, you can try to find a role where these common factors meet.
You’ll learn what you need to transition to a new career. Yes, you may find this information online, but requirements can vary widely within certain industries and locations. If you want to be a programmer in your city, you may only need a solid knowledge of coding or you may need a Computer Sciences degree. Assessing retraining time and costs will help you decide which career path you want to pursue.
Refocusing your career takes courage, but it’s not impossible. Having contacts and inside information on the industry you’re interested in will set you up to make a clear decision on the next chapter in your career journey.
Have you checked our latest job listings? The perfect opportunity could already be waiting for you!