Starting a new job in market research? Starting a new job in general? Here are some tips I have put together to help you hit the ground running with your new market research firm. Starting at a new job can be quite an exciting time in someone’s life, and we like to think starting a job at a market research firm is the most exciting time in someone’s life! You know, better than the day you got your first car, the day you graduated college, birth of your first child, etc.
Coupled with that, a new career can be a very stressful and pressure-filled time for you. Here is a list of tips that can get you up to speed. Most of my list is geared towards starting a new career in market research, but all of these tips can be applied to a variety of fields.
- Research your Market Research Company. First off, you probably did this to get the job, or at least I hope you did. If you did, that probably means you have a solid research mindset. Once you have the job, think on a broader scale. Don’t think in terms of day-to-day routines you may be presented with. Think of the grand scheme of what your company provides to its clients. Being able to think long-term in market research is critical to growing personally and professionally.
- Be Open to Change. Don’t carry tedious and unproductive routines over from a previous job; be open to the new ideas, techniques, and methods that your new job will surely present. If you think a task is taking longer than it should, there is most likely a way to do it quicker. You’d be shocked how much time you can save if you actually did some tip searching on how to save time with Excel and PowerPoint. This leads me to…
- Ask Questions. This is the most important tip I can offer you. It applies to any new job or if you are a seasoned vet of 25 years. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Taking a second to ask someone for help is a great way to learn; it can also prevent you from making costly mistakes. Successful people surround themselves with successful people and you should try to benefit from that. As Albert Einstein once said “If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn’t be called research, would it?”
- Brush up on your skills. Pull out your old projects, textbooks and notes from school. Relearn techniques that are applicable to your job that you may have forgotten. Revisiting old knowledge will give you the opportunity to get a handle of things quicker and pick up on things more easily. For example: go through that old project or report, recalculate the statistics, and retrace how you came to certain conclusions or recommendations.
- Make Use of your Downtime. Your team has just wrapped up a project and you find yourself with some extra time; make use of it! Learn about the other business functions and responsibilities of others within the office. Chat with your coworkers about what they do and perhaps the work processes from their role can benefit you in how you approach your workload.
- Familiarize Yourself with the Programs/Software. Quite often, a company will have software that is unique to their office. In order to be efficient with the new computer system, it is important to spend time exploring the software. You may even be able to find something useful your co-workers didn’t know yet. This is a process of trial and error – just make sure you use a dummy file or a self-created file; you don’t want to change an important document and save over it.
- Learn about Previous/Current Clients and their Competitors. Read through old reports or do some secondary research. Knowing clients is essential to every market research firm. Combining the knowledge of the client with your experience in market research will help you better communicate the results and their impact in the market.
- Expand your Knowledge of the Field. Pick up some market research books, read through market research blogs (ahem), or market research industry magazines. Learning from other experts in the field is a great way to pick up new ideas and techniques. Through the Internet, there is a nearly endless source of knowledge waiting for you.
- Create a Handbook. Does your position have a handbook for performing some complex or even basic tasks? If so, add to it as you learn. If not, create one from scratch and see if your manager thinks it’s a good idea. What better way to learn than to document your step by step processes.
These are just a few tips to get you started in your new market research career. Good luck!
If you have anything to add or share, please feel free to comment below or even forward this to some new employees in your firm.