I am currently working as an inside sales representative at an IT company. I’m getting positive feedback on my performance from my manager and team members. But this is not my dream job. I would love to someday work as a project manager in my company or elsewhere.
How can I pursue my dream career while working full time?
Signed: Dream Job (DJ)
I would start by learning as much as possible about the field of project management, meet as many people as possible working in your dream job, build your professional network, and start applying for these jobs.
One of the best networking techniques is conducting an “information interview” meeting with the leaders in your target profession, to learn about the field from the inside. The information can help you to prepare your resume, interview presentation, and determine the skills that employers are looking for, as well as help you understand the workplace culture and hiring practices.
Here are some suggested steps to follow for the information interview:
1. Conduct targeted research.
Identify those companies, job postings, organizations, associations, groups, and people in your target field on social media and the internet. Engage in the sites by following companies and people, join their groups, analyze their profiles, and learn as much as you can about the labour market and whom to contact for the meeting.
2. Cold call.
Using the researched information on the targeted professional, I suggest picking up the phone and asking for a 10 minute meeting on the phone or in person to discuss your career path and to “pick his/her brain” on labour market trends. If you can be referred to this person, it becomes a “warm call”, which is even better. Approach this call as a “student” looking to learn.
3. Follow up.
After the meeting, send a thank you email, and always ask the person permission to connect with him/her on Linkedin. Continue the relationship and keep the person up to date, especially regarding tips or referrals that were given. And keep in touch by tweeting anything interesting regarding the company and/or your new contact, and updating the person on your job search.
4. Remember Etiquette.
Don’t ask for a job. Your goal is to establish rapport with this stranger and learn about their work. Bring your resume, writing paper and a business/calling card. Offer your resume only if requested. Say thank you and express your appreciation. Prepare key questions in advance that will enable you to get inside the company’s culture and hiring practices. Visit this site for some suggested questions. Introduce yourself in a clear and articulate way by describing your background, qualifications and experience. I also suggest asking for a referral to others in order to learn more about your industry and occupation. Make sure to ask permission to use the referring person’s name.