Career Management: Advantages of the “Long View”

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So, you may not be changing careers at the moment.  But, there are benefits to staying current with the broader spectrum of your industry.   The Advantages of Understanding the Competitive Landscape are significant.  You enhance your present situation with knowing how what you are doing connects to the industry as a whole.   In the process, you attain that “eye on the horizon” in the event that you get the opportunity to change and/or advance your career.  However, information and loyalty are not mutually exclusive.   You can successfully manage your career growth and maintain loyalty to your current position.

“Knowledge is power”, is a well-known cliché and for good reason.   Whether you are planning a career change or simply want to stay on top of current industry trends, knowledge is one of your greatest tools.  In the broadest terms, learning the issues a company is facing and how you can contribute to their successful resolution and the overall growth of the organization is the quintessential definition of success.

“Information is liberating”, also cliché but what if you do decide to make a career change?  How do you best prepare yourself for the interview when it happens?  Is there information that you already know about the company through your own experience researching the competitive landscape?   Do your homework before the interview.  Make sure you review as much as possible about the company with which you are interviewing.  Do additional research.  And when I say research, I mean like an investigative reporter.  Go back and look up all the key executives on LinkedIn.  See where they’ve worked.  Are there commonalities?  You may already know if you have personally worked at any of the same companies but go back and remind yourself.   If you are interviewing for a position, its likely that other changes have happened since your earlier research, so get up to speed on the current insider information about what’s really going on inside the company.  What is the culture? Who are the rising stars? Who is on their way out?  Who are the empty suits? (all companies have them) … and most importantly, find out who really makes the decisions! This “insider” perspective will help you create a dynamic interchange of sharing information, thoughts and observations.

How does all this information help you in the short and long term?   Vastly, as it turns out.  Being in the know in your current career makes you smarter and more productive.  In the long run, you position yourself to efficiently make a change if the opportunity arises.   Particularly if you do get in an interview setting, what may seem as a casual reference by the interviewer could in fact be a profound statement with lasting residual effects, in a great way.  It could just be the connection that seals the deal.