Before you turn in your notice and send your previous job packing, you’re going to want to spend a lot of time researching the new company or the new industry you’d like to transition to. Get to know the expectations, culture, and language first and foremost. And the best way to do it? Full immersion. Anytime you’re not in your day job, spend your time on this research. Here’s what you should focus on:
What Kind of People Are Being Held as Success Stories in that Company or Industry?
To start, find out who people in that company or industry look up to as icons or success stories. What have they done to get to that point? And what are they doing now that enables them to serve as an ideal model for the company/industry?
Start with the people at the top and reverse engineer their stories. Discover the qualities, values, practices they’ve engaged in throughout their careers to get them to that point. Those same qualities, values, and practices will be what is expected of you once you make the transition.
What Kind of Culture and Operations Prevail at that Company or in that Industry?
Once you understand what your desired company/industry values are based on and what they value in people, the next step is to learn what they value based on how they operate.
Every company or industry has a distinct way of operating that can tell you a multitude of things about who they are.
For example, young tech startups in Silicon Valley tend to operate under a “move fast and break things” mentality. What this really means is that they believe in experimentation over perfection. They create, they launch. They measure, they iterate.
On the flip side, many large multi-national corporations that have been in business for decades focus more on process – they’re past the learning and experimenting phase and more likely to focus on sustaining and growing what’s already proven to find them success. They have systems in place that are going to be very important to them. Research, falling in line, and delivering excellence and even perfection will be the name of the game for anyone in those companies.
Just like with the people they hold up as an example, the way a company or industry operates will tell you what they value and, thus, what will be expected of you.
What Are the Trends Happening in that Company or Industry?
Finally, you’ll want to stay on top of the movement happening in your desired company or industry.
Are there new trends to follow that can help you stay ahead of the curve? Are things stable and growing or is something shaking them up a bit? You’ll want to engage in weekly research and daily news updates to understand not just what’s gotten them to this point, but what’s happening to them now and what that could mean for the future. It’s not enough to be well-versed on history – if you really want to stand out then you should become someone who fully understands what’s happening and have an idea of what to expect based off of those trends.
*All of this may sound like a lot of work – and no question – it is. I chose the word “immersion” specifically to highlight the fact that you should dive deep into your research in a way that makes you already feel like you’re working in that company or industry. This will enable you to sound like an expert even before you make the transition, thus improving your chances of success. Additionally, it will help you feel more confident about the move and the work; there’s nothing like being confident when you are going into new territory. Think of it like taking a brand new subject at school. At first, you knew hardly anything. Then you did your research, studied hard, and become prepared to take the test. In this case, the test is starting in your new career.