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I am in the middle of making a complete career change. Currently, I am an aerospace engineer.

Last year I wrapped up my MBA and have since been researching and networking in order to figuring out the role and then job that I want to transition into. My main area of interest is in market research.

One of the hardest things about making a career change like this is getting enough experience or exposure in a field in order for a company to hire me. Does anybody have any suggestions about how to gain this experience?

One thing that I came up with is to shadow somebody that does this. For instance, I am trying to set up a situation with a friend of mine in market research where I help him every other Friday for a period of time. I told him upfront I want to make sure to add enough value to offset the slow down that I cause for him.

I think that if we can get this figured out it will be a great way for me to get my hands a little dirty.

Let’s say I shadow him for a few months and gain a good amount of exposure to the area of market research. How would I communicate that to any possible employer? Is there any way to put it on a resume? Should it fall into an interview conversation?

What are your thoughts?

mstael31's picture

jdg,

Dude, you have a great friend if they take you under your wing as you mentioned. Nice!

As a market research professional myself, understanding the fundamentals will help tremendously. Your MBA experience may help in this regard, although the degree does not equate to practical application (which you probably already realize). That's where your Friday's could help significantly.

Personally, I would include your "volunteer" Friday work on your resume, especially if you have accomplishments you can call your own. These golden nuggets will serve as key attraction getters and demonstrate your commitment to the career change. Not to mention "proof" of your ability to do the job.

If you have not already done so, I would also suggest that you focus your resume on the skills that will transfer to anything you do. This includes highlighting accomplishments and job tasks on your resume that support these skills.

So getting more "experience" in market research.... You might want to review market research industry magazines/publications or recent research studies. From these you can discover potential areas of interest and focus for experience to obtain during your Friday sessions. You will also pick up some of the industry terminology so you can speak the language better.

What level position do you want? Introductory positions may exist that will help you learn and move up quickly. Do you want to work for a manufacturing company in their market research department or for a company that specializes in market research? Do you want to focus on traditional research? Syndicated research services or custom? I ask these questions to demonstrate that market research has many, many different avenues for you to consider.

I hope this at least helps you to generate some thoughts, even if not providing the answer you seek.

Kudos for knowing what you want to do next and taking steps to improve your chances of getting hired. Feel free to send me a PM if you want to get in touch and talk about market research some more. I currently work in IT (like so many other MT listeners). However, after more than 18 years, I have picked up a thing or two about the industry. ;-)

Good luck!!

Mark

jdg's picture

Mark,

I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions and throwing out some ideas.

On the resume, how would you suggest I add it? As another heading like my job position headings? I use the MT resume style of course! It seems like it would “fit” better at the bottom around the school stuff but I also think it could get overlooked down there. What do you think?

Great idea on reading publications and magazines. That will be a great way to gain some terminology and also begin to figure out which direction of market research I want to enter.

What are some magazines and publications that you would recommend?

Any websites/blogs?

The questions you posed are great. That really helps me figure out the things I need to be asking myself and researching before I take the step of actually searching for a specific job.

Josh

bffranklin's picture

Josh,

I've taken it that the education stuff goes at the bottom because it is least relevant to the job you're applying to. Your accomplishments are much more applicable and move towards the top. I'd get the shadowing experience and any accomplishments you have from the experience up at the top of the resume.