The Exclusive Career Coach

The Exclusive Career Coach

062: People Who Made Significant Career Changes

February 11, 2019

This month, I’m talking about starting, changing, and restarting your career. Last week’s episode covered how to identify the source of your job dissatisfaction and what to do about it.

Today, I’m presenting case studies of people who made significant career changes, and the lessons to be learned from those changes. My hope is that you might identify with one or more of these case studies and find hope and direction in the paths they took.

Case Study #1 – “Jennifer”

“Jennifer” is a 25-year old with a bachelor’s degree in Communication and Media Studies. When she came to me, she was working as a Model Manager for a NYC modeling agency.

Although this was her first full-time job, Jennifer had done internships with two NYC PR firms. This work interested her, but she told herself she didn’t have the qualifications to get a full-time job at a PR firm.

Initially, Jennifer expressed an interest in moving to the other side of the table, as a Talent Booking Coordinator for a company—perhaps one of the ones she had supplied models for as a Model Manager.

The profile of her ideal employer certainly supported this career move, as did her top skills in organization, research, attention to detail, communication, and a wide base of knowledge.

Here’s where things got interesting for Jennifer: when she completed the Target Employer Ranking form. This is where a client identifies about 25 potential “dream” employers, then evaluates those employers against the criteria the client has identified as being ideal for her.

On her list initially was just 2 PR firms, and both firms came out on the top of her ranking form, largely because of the collaborative working environment and the opportunity to do a wide range of tasks.

My recommendation to Jennifer, who I’m still working with, is to add a couple more PR firms to her target employer list and evaluate them.

This process has been such a revelation for Jennifer who now is full-speed ahead on gaining a position in PR, and who recognizes the value she will bring to a PR firm. She is energized and highly motivated!

While Jennifer and I haven’t yet launched her job search, she has extensive NYC connections in PR firms including the two she interned with, and I have absolute confidence in her ability to land her dream job.

Case Study #2 – “Randy”

“Randy” is a 26-year-old with an Associate degree in Turf Management. He is currently working as a groundskeeper for a major league sports team and will complete his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in about three months.

He’s very dissatisfied in his current position, mostly due to the lack of decision-making ability he has and a work environment that isn’t collaborative. He has felt for some time that he is meant for more, professionally speaking, than what he’s currently doing. The question has been what that “something more” is.

Before earning his Associate degree, Randy was at a university with majors in Economics, Business, and a minor in Actuarial Science. In short, Randy didn’t have a career path, and eventually took a break from higher education to figure himself out.

When he first came to me about majoring in Turf Management at a technical school, I didn’t see the fit. However, Randy’s personality and interest assessments presented an unusual picture: he likes to work with his hands AND he wants to be in a position of influence. He has a high need for structure and routine and has strong attention to detail. Further, Randy wants to work in a field where he can improve processes to make them more effective and efficient.

Randy is currently conducting informational interviews and job shadowing with people in supply chain management. He is 90% certain this is the field he wants to pursue.

What’s up next with Randy? We will be redesigning his resume and LinkedIn profile to show the transferability of his skills and accomplishments in light of his new career path.

We’ll then map out a job search strategy that focuses on active methods to get an entry-level position in supply chain management. Then we’ll conduct some practice interviews to hone both his interviewing skills and his comfort level with presenting himself in a completely new line of work.

Case Study #3 – “Michael”

“Michael” is a 22-year-old recent college graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Global Business. When he came to me, he was doing contract work for an abstract company.

As we went through the “Land Your Dream Job” program, Michael’s interest in human resources emerged. He wanted work with variety and required interaction with colleagues. He considers himself a caring and empathic person. Michael has strong attention to detail and is a quick and efficient worker.

Fortunately, all companies of any size have an HR function, and Michael lives in the northeast, so he was able to identify several companies of interest to him. He was particularly interested in companies in the automotive, fashion, pharma, and financial services fields.

I’m considering Michael’s story that of a career-change, even though he hadn’t really started his career yet. He came out of college without a clear career focus, and by working with me honed in on the career path he wants to take.

So what are the lessons to be learned from these three case studies? Here are five:

1. Don’t expect to get it right, right out of the gate.

2. Assess what’s working, and what isn’t, before automatically jumping ship.

3. Starting over is easier when you haven’t moved very far into a career yet.

4. Pay attention to where your mind wanders, as that can be a great indicator of what you are passionate about.

5. It doesn’t matter what your degree is in. Probably.


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