A Not-So-Obvious Strategy for a Career Change
This was posted a few days ago.
Coincidentally, after a few years I realized that I have the necessary experience to get into medical sales. I have registered to go to a convention next month and will do this very thing before biting the bullet and getting involved in medical sales. There are always going to be cons to each industry, but it’s better to know what you’re getting into than to not know at all.
A few days later, he posted again.
As I mentioned, I went to a medical device conference. It was definitely well worth the trip. Everyone there was friendly and couldn’t believe that a guy from another industry spent his own money to fly out and network for a job. They answered any questions I had and were all willing to point me in the right direction. I actually got some emails on LinkedIn recommending me to talk to people that might be interested in using my experience dealing with Japan and Asia to help sell their devices. Since I wasn’t in the industry, I was also able to negotiate a discount for the convention fee itself with the host.
Other than the actual effort of showing up and taking time off work, it wasn’t difficult to meet people at all. Not only was this more effective than just sending out resumes, but no one there even asked about my resume. One person said to send them a 5 sentence paragraph on LinkedIn (essentially an elevator pitch of who I am and what I’m looking for) and they will see if they know anyone that can help. I was also pointed to the larger conventions in this field and what cities in the US are key in this field.
Another interesting note is that the host of the conference emphasized that people need to be blogging about the industry. This validates Dr. North’s advice about having a blog for your field. There were a few people there that had a company business card and their own personal blog business card. Youtube channels were also emphasized.
http://www.garynorth.com/members/forum/openthread.cfm?forum=21&ThreadID=237630#238656This is a very good strategy. First, it lets you get a sense of what is required in the industry. Obviously, at a convention, everybody puts his best foot forward. Or, to switch metaphors, all the pigs are wearing lipstick. But if you get the sense that you really would not want to be in the industry after going to a convention, you probably should not be in that industry. Reality is going to be worse than it appears at a convention. At a convention, everybody is either trying to sell you something or sell himself.
Second, it is a form of networking. You pick up business cards; you hand out business cards. I think it is interesting that what he did was considered unique by people who were attending the convention. Here was an outsider coming to a convention to do networking. Yet, from the point of view of information gathering, this ought to be an obvious strategy. But it isn’t. Here is one more case of what seems to be obvious to members of this website turns out not to be obvious to anybody else.
Third, you get some sense of what the competition is going to be. People who attend the convention are probably in the top 20% of the people in the industry. They have spent money to attend. They have allocated time to attend. They probably will pick up brochures that will help them, and it is at least conceivable that they’ll come away with three or four ideas from the lectures. Any time you can come away with three or four ideas from anything, it’s worth your while. Getting good ideas dropped in your lap is not a normal experience.
Fourth, you should take some kind of action within 72 hours after you get home. If you wait longer than this, the opportunities will still be there, but your willingness to follow through is not. You have to discipline yourself to take some kind of action. It may simply be contacting somebody. It may be writing for more information. But you should do something.
Fifth, you really do need a website, and a YouTube channel would not hurt. But the website is more important. The website should have videos that are embedded from the YouTube channel. A website is more comprehensive than a YouTube channel. There are things that you can do with a website that you cannot do with the video. There is nothing that you can do with a video that you cannot do with a website.
Sixth, if you are looking for a job in a new industry, and you don’t want an entry-level job, you need to create a website related to the industry you want to get into. Initially, you should not voice any opinions. You should use the site as a clearinghouse of information: summaries with links to articles. This site will persuade a potential employer that you know more than you really do. The very fact that you have a website that serves as a clearinghouse of information indicates that you are on top of things. You may not be on top of things, but the website testifies otherwise. It’s not exactly false advertising. It is lipstick on the pig. Oink, oink.
The above article originally appeared at GaryNorth.com, reprinted here with expressed written permission from Gary North.