Reach out to learn more about careers and industries

Contact industry employees or human resources to learn current trends and information about careers or industries that you are interested in.

While most people would hesitate to reach out to contact potential employers directly, try to remember that you are still in the research phase.

This may make it easier to call or email people working in specific industries to gather more information.

To find potential contacts, use your existing network, conduct online searches for company and industry information, or look through current job postings.

A woman meeting with a house builder to learn more about his job

Your goal
What you’re NOT trying to do when you contact an industry employee is get a job — which you can state right away if necessary.

Instead, you’re looking for:

  • Information about the industry
  • An opportunity to meet with them personally to discuss their experience
  • A possible review of your qualifications and/or resume
  • Other employers, companies, or contact names you can reach out to

Practice, practice, practice
Calling or reaching out to people you may not know is intimidating — draw on your service in the military to overcome any fear or anxiety. The worst thing you can hear is “no.”

Enlist friends to practice with over the phone. Record the conversation and play it back later to see how you can improve. Or compose template emails you can use for different purposes, industries, and people.

Use a script
Until you’re more comfortable, it never hurts to use a script or even an outline of things you can say once you get through to your contact.

For example, begin your conversation the same way every time:

  • Introduce yourself
  • Mention that you are transitioning from a career in the military
  • State your purpose — you’re researching industries to find a fit for your skills and expertise
  • Reassure them you’ll only take a few minutes of their time
  • Ask specific questions:
    • What is a growth area for this industry?
    • What are some recent issues this industry has come up against?
    • What type of experience or skills are needed?
    • How did you get involved in this industry?

Follow up
Before you end the conversation, try to leave the door open for further communication — ask if you can contact them again if you have other questions or need additional advice.

Be sure to send a thank you note (in the mail). It provides a more personal touch.

Click the Next button to learn about assessing your financial needs.