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What steps should I take if I want to make a career change?

I graduated back in 2016 with my BSBA in Marketing, but was really enamored with working for a specific company, and keep finding that opportunities are scarce and over-competitive. I don't have much outside experience since I've been here since I graduated with not much to show for it, and now I'm restless and unsatisfied with what I do for work. What can I do to get the necessary experience to move into a more responsible or analytical role? #marketing #career #job #business #technology

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Jackie’s Answer

Another piece of advice that I myself received recently is to look for people who have the job that you want and network. Connecting with people specifically in the field/role you want will allow you to build your network and understand how they got there too. They will be able to give you advice specific to their job. A great resource for this is linkedin! Also, look for online courses on sites like General Assembly - they have digital marketing and analytics courses that you may find interesting/helpful in terms of building your skillset.
Thank you comment icon Having made a change in my Carreer, this was part of the process I used. By getting to know the folks already working in the job I wanted I became a known comodity to potential hiring managers for the job I wanted. Damon Hopley
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Adriane’s Answer

Hi Brandon!

There are a lot of great responses here, but I would challenge you to think of what you're really looking for. What about your current position or place of work is making you unhappy? Is it the actual work you're doing (career change), the people you're working with (company/team change), the environment in which you work (company/team change), or something else? That will really drive what your options are going forward.

If you love what you do, just not where you're doing it, you can absolutely network and look for companies that have less competitive work environments. I would encourage you to look at ratings for best companies to work for and reach out to people who work there in similar roles through LinkedIn or other forums.

If you're disillusioned with the actual work you're doing, then I would focus on the activities you enjoy doing rather than the industry or company. Do you like working alone or with other people? With technology or without it? Travel or no? All these things can help paint a picture from the ground up of the type of work you'd enjoy doing.

Hope that helps!
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Jerel O.’s Answer

Also, if you are looking into a career change, find out what other careers you interested in and determine if you would need additional edcation or training.
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Steve’s Answer

Think about what it is you want to do, and try to meet people (via linkedin or personal network) who do that, or work in companies that have that type of role. Get their advice, get introductions to potential hiring managers, network with people.

Personally I've found that the key to making a big career jump is to find people who see your potential and want to take a chance on helping you make that leap. They see your foundational skills and see how they can apply to your new role

Also, I always tell people to think 3 moves out. Getting to exactly what you want may not happen in one move. It may take 2-3 moves to get there, so plot a course, a trajectory, then look for jobs that set you on that path or trajectory. Get the first round of experience. Then evaluate other jobs to determine if they keep you on that trajectory...or if you want to change your trajectory overall
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Pam’s Answer

One piece of advice is to look on Linked In for the role or job title that you are seeking. Find out who has that role and companies that interest you and reach out to them for advice. If you let them know you are merely looking to understand how best to find a job similar to theirs, I have a feeling they will be open to helping and talking.
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Jen’s Answer

Have you looked into any networking groups that focus on more data and analytics? Depending on where you live, Meetup.com sometimes has certain types of networking groups so you can get to know folks with a similar interest. This could be a good way to put yourself out there and maybe learn about new job opportunities.
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James’s Answer

Good question Brandon. Does the company you currently work for have jobs that fit what you're looking for? Don't overlook the possibility of taking a new role where you already work. There's a couple of advantages to moving jobs and staying at the same employer. First, you can talk to people that are in those jobs and get a real feel for what the work is like day-to-day, what the managers are like, the work-life balance, etc. Second, you already work at the company so it's easy to network with internal people and, if you're already a stellar performer, your current manager can vouch for you which gives you a big advantage vs. external job candidates.
You don't have to tell your manager that you are looking into other jobs or talking to other employees who do those jobs. However, once you feel truly interested in another position, at that point I recommend you talk to your boss as a professional courtesy. Make sure they understand that you are interested in expanding your horizons and want to learn more about the job you're interested in. Do NOT talk about how you are dissatisfied or bored in your current role, but talk about how you really like working for the company and your passion to try something new to broaden your skills set and experience.
Once you have that conversation you should think about talking to the hiring manager for the job you're interested in. Not a formal interview, but just to find out more about the job, what the expectations are, and what kind of candidates the hiring manager is looking for. That discussion, along with the talks you had with other employees who work in that area will equip you with all the info you need to decide whether or not to apply for the job and you'll also have good information to help you tailor your resume and interview.
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Cynthia’s Answer

Hi Brandon,

Careers are a big decision for sure! And it is a path, a journey. Perhaps you can look back at why you choose your degree in the first place and identify the classes that most intrigued you. I would also suggest finding a mentor- but be prepared for them. They may suggest courses or certifications that can start you on a new path.

Do your homework and know yourself. What size company? What type of company? Location? What do you want your days to look like- what tasks do you like the most/ least? Why? What type of manager do you want? Where do you see yourself in 3 years?

No matter what you answer, you have to understand that it takes time, curiosity , discipline and hard work to move through your career. Be open to suggestions and know yourself well enough to navigate with confidence.
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Joe’s Answer

Hi Brandon, if you're looking into getting into analytics with no previous experience/ background start by reading up on it and take an online course from courser to see if that's the direction you want to go. Next steps would be formal training like grad school (hopefully that's an option for you). I would suggest a 1 year program. It's worth the investment and shows seriousness to employers that you took significant steps towards a career change. Lastly, as others suggested, continue to network. Reach out if you have any questions and I'm more than happy to have a chat with you.
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Pam’s Answer

One piece of advice is to look on Linked In for the role or job title that you are seeking. Find out who has that role and companies that interest you and reach out to them for advice. If you let them know you are merely looking to understand how best to find a job similar to theirs, I have a feeling they will be open to helping and talking.
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Silas’s Answer

Hi Brandon,

I would first explore internal opportunities at your current company to see if there are any other opportunities that could be of interest to you. If that is not the case then I would recommend having conversations with people in industries that you are interested in and having exploratory conversations on how to be successful. Additionally, I would recommend taking courses or trainings in areas that you are interested in.
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Denise’s Answer

I have changed industries a couple times now. However, my focus has always been in marketing/advertising and the majority of my career has been in client services. What worked well for me was considering how I can use my transferable skills to get the job I wanted (but did not feel qualified for). If you can think about what you are good at, and what you like doing, you can make the link on the similarities in your new prospective career to transition really well. Even if you feel like you don't have much to show for it, you should focus on your strengths and what you have to offer this new employer that they need. Good luck!

Denise recommends the following next steps:

Focus on your strengths. Show them what makes you unique and the best candidate!
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Emily’s Answer

I can definitely speak to this because I just recently made a career switch as a junior professional. Similarly, I entered into a new field that I had basic, foundational knowledge of which I could speak to (Which you, too, can speak to as you are already in marketing). This is a good starting point.

From here, as likely others have said, networking SHAMELESSLY is key! I reached out to innumerable LinkedIn members with custom-tailored blurbs in the connection requests describing briefly how I was a junior professional with interest in learning more about what they do, or about their industry, etc., and wanting to chat with them (phone calls preferable, but some may just want to chat with you online).

Keep in mind, don't start off with, "I'm looking for a job," or, "I'm interested in working at your company," or really just any kind of request for a favor down the road. This puts pressure on people and they may not answer. Ask to get to know them as professionals and learn about their career journey, because people love talking about their accomplishments, and this way you can establish rapport. After that initial contact, many more of those people would be willing to put you forward to their hiring manager, refer you to another connection they have, stuff like that, as they'll actually feel COMPELLED to help you out, rather than pressured to do so.

Is it shameful to be openly looking for a job? No way, but again, it just creates an air of pressure and your connection might now be able to fulfill that request.

Will this method work with everyone? Not at all. Even with a perfect note, some dont respond for various reasons. Optimize your chances of success by reaching out to many people of possible (while maintaining the quality of the connection and relevance to your career interests).

Pro tip: Do searches of those who have graduated from the same university as you. Alumni love helping each other out.
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Tammy’s Answer

Hello! It is good that you are discovering what makes you happy and where you want to put your energy of focus. Since we are all in quarantine, perhaps you try and utilize your skill sets in helping others voluntarily. There is a non-profit organization named taproot + that is looking for people with specific skills to help other organizations. This could help give you some experience that you can add to your resume so that when you do find a position where you are interesting in applying, you can share some examples. This also shows you are a self starter and willing to go after what you want to do. Best of luck to you!
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Ross’s Answer

Hi Brandon - As others in this thread have commented pursuing additional training and education in your desired field is not a guarantee to the opportunity you are looking for, but it does provide a boost to your qualifications and can give you the opportunity to network with target companies depending on the school. For experienced professionals looking to make a career change, often an MBA is a good route. There are evening programs and online formats that offer flexibility to continue working and earn your degree; or there is always the full-time route. Depending on what you would like to do / where you want to go the choice of MBA program can be crucial as top tier programs definitely open up more doors and some offer the analytics concentration you are looking for.
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Elizabeth’s Answer

Hi Brandon,
I too wanted to switch from an unsatisfying job to a better career and fortunately managed to do it in 2014. I love the answers people have given you to gain experience such as networking in-person and through LinkedIn. Find out how your current skills can relate to the skills that would be needed in the job that you do want. Tailor your resume to show that you do have the experience needed, you just got it in a non-traditional way. You can find out if your company has rotational positions or special projects you can try and get yourself assigned to so you can build your resume and your connections. Also, you can volunteer and request to be on special assignments. Volunteer positions will get you a lot of the same experience that businesses are looking for and are easier to acquire. I hope that helps!
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Jennifer’s Answer

Hi Brandon. You might want to find out if your company offers you to do a job swap with an individual in your current organization who is also looking to do a career change. Swaps can be for few weeks up to a month and is a great way to learn about other careers.
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Christina’s Answer

Many skills are transferrable because they are functional, regardless of content area (for example, project management, research, relationship management). Inventory the skills you have and can develop in your current position and then see where you can apply them in another job within your same company or industry.
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Gloria’s Answer

Hi Brandon,

You have gotten a lot of great feedback here. As a person who has changed careers after being bored, I wanted to just add my thoughts from experience. What I had to figure out was how my existing skills could be used in other types of jobs. I was a corporate training but I wanted to shift into a creation of training role. In the beginning, it was just about taking on the role as if I had it. When I received a course that was poorly written, i provided feedback to the team that wrote it. Sometimes I work for companies that did not have adequate documentation, so I wrote it out for myself and then shared it. This did require me to start looking into what my job was called and learn about what made a good one. I am not sure how that would translate into Marketing, but I imagine that there is a way for you to show your interest by taking on tasks that do not fall into your current role. Also, apply for jobs that do interest you requiring the skills that you need. Often, having a large well of knowledge (your degree) will give a company a big reason to take a chance on you. I had training knowledge and when I applied for a design job, they took a chance on me. I was cheap but they were willing to train me. I learned a lot in that year and was able to take those new skills and the job experience to other companies.

Gloria
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Stephanie’s Answer

Hi Brandon,
Definitely network with people in that field! LinkedIn is perfect for that. Not only are you able to represent your brand but also connect with others similar to you or that share your same goals and passions.

I utilized LinkedIn as my tool for making those connections. There are even clubs and associations you can connect with and join where there is not only a support system to help lead you in that direction but they also offer guidance and tips to better practice that skillset you want to endure!

Like I am a Software Engineer and also work in front-end development - which I am part of LinkedIn's 'React Developers' group. Yet, I also am interested in making the switch to Cybersecurity so I am also part of LinkedIn's 'CISO Cyber Security Information' group where I have made many wonderful connections to have sessions with people in that field. I am given detailed run downs of their day to day, where there are great hiring opportunities, and resources to allocate to improve my knowledge that they utilize in their practices.

There are plenty of other tools out there for networking, but LinkedIn has definitely payed off well for me, so I would suggest trying out there for help branching out! You might even find an opportunity that is within your career choice and just shines more light on your role.
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