OPINION21 June 2019

How to make it big in insight

Opinion Trends UK

From keeping a file on positive feedback to plotting your future work path, Jordan McLaren shares some of the career advice shared by speakers at the Market Research Society’s recent &More event.

Career building blocks young researcher_crop

&More creates opportunities for young researchers to successfully and confidently network within the research industry. The event on Monday 17th June focused on how to start finding your path to success at the beginning of your career in market research, delivering some top tips along the way.

Search for your enjoyment

At the beginning of your career, it’s easy to stay in a role just to get experience. But at a time when workplace stress and working hours are increasing, finding enjoyment and fulfilment in your work is vital. Polina Vorms, client insight manager at GfK, offered advice on how to find meaning and enjoyment in your role:

  • Embrace the role you currently have: take anything and everything you can from it, whether it be industry-specific knowledge, project management skills or connections
  • Get involved with the research industry: attending events and workshops will help develop your skills, knowledge and networks, and allow you to explore new fields of interests
  • Develop tunnel vision: although tunnel vision has historically been viewed negatively, it can also allow you to make longer-term career decisions that are better for you, by way of being more focused vs what you find enjoyable.

Action: Get involved. Check out the MRS website and sign up to the next &more event. Alternatively, check Eventbrite and book a free or paid seminar, lecture or workshop of your choice.

The career equation

Billie Ing, head of curation and trends at Ipsos Mori, suggested three questions that can identify the right career path for you:

  • What am I good at?
  • What excites me?
  • What challenges me?

Three points to consider when answering these questions in a way that brings success and enjoyment are:

  •  Keep a file of your positive feedback: Every time you do well, or receive praise, add it to the file. This provides you evidence of what you’re good at, which can help you in your next interview or pitch
  • Listen to yourself: start recognising when you have a good day, what made it a good day, and what to look out for in the future
  • Find challenges that benefit you, but be warned, they may be stressful: if challenges that can help you grow are presented to you, it will benefit you to pursue them. However, the most beneficial challenges will push your ability.

Action: Create a three circle Venn diagram. In each section, write one of the above questions. Answer them in as much detail, then see what opportunities fit within the centre. Can’t think of a role in your company that fits? Maybe you’ve identified a beneficial role that needs to be created.

It’s not too early for a career plan

The idea of planning your entire career while in your early 20s is daunting. However, Harry Davies, head of measurement and analytics at Google, encouraged attendees to do so lightheartedly.

First, understand who you are and what you want. Plot yourself in the centre and around your name write your professional and personal goals. You’ll begin to see how you can make your professional and personal goals align. For example, Davies discussed his interests in academia and how he created cohesive development both in his personal and professional goals.

Once you’ve done this, Davies identified three stages of a career:

Learn ( 20-35 ): here, you’re finding your interests and learning new skills. You’ll change your mind, make plenty of mistakes and learn valuable lessons and skills. Embrace it.

Learn and do ( 35-50 ): you’ll still make mistakes, everybody does. However, now you’ll feel more confident in what you can do. Take on projects that interest you and innovate. Be confident in yourself and start doing.

Learn and teach ( 50-66 ): you never stop learning. However, at this stage you can confidently aid in other’s learning. This can be done via teaching in academia, giving on-the-job training or being a mentor. You’re in a place where you have the skills, you have the experience, you’ll still learn more, but you can help guide those that need it.

Action: Organise a meeting with someone experienced in your office that you feel comfortable with. Talk them through what you want from your career, make it known and make it heard – they may be able to help mentor you.

Check out &More’s upcoming events here.

Jordan McLaren is junior research executive at Northstar Research