There are plenty of reasons why you might want to stay in a career that you don’t like. The money’s good. You’re an established pro at your role and you feel safe. You don’t like change. None of that should matter if at the end of the day you aren’t happy, and feel like you’d be better off down a different path. We get it. A few of us have experienced just that, and now it’s our turn to offer you tips on how you can evolve your career into something you’re proud of.
Tips from Bonnie Gibson, Director of Marketing
I lived in New Hampshire as a web developer but wanted to work for a Boston startup in marketing. I went on many interviews, but people would get turned off by my background or location, so I knew there were a couple of things I had to do.
1. Prove myself as a marketer. The first thing I did was pull the skills that I currently had (design, HTML, CSS) to draw the connections with skill sets a marketer would have. Second, I built a portfolio to show my talent, which meant creating a social presence, blog, website that focused on marketing.
2. Build a network. Getting a job when you’re pivoting your career can be hard, a good network makes it easier. To build a network, I joined Startup Institute in Fall of 2012. Out of the three jobs, I have had in Boston, two of them came from my Startup Institue network. In fact, my current position here at Level came from one of my SI classmates directly referring me to my boss.
In conclusion, my advice to anyone starting out pivoting their career, whether it be data analytics, IoT, or any change, in general, is to build a network and show your knowledge. If you want to be a data analyst, take some courses, build a portfolio and go to meetups and events. There are plenty of free resources you can pull data from and build a project you can show prospective employers. Good luck out there!
Tips from Shireen Pourbemani, Student Success Manager
I thought I wanted to be in the medical field my entire life. After working in the field for almost two years, I realized it wasn’t a great fit for me. I knew I enjoyed supporting people and helping them accomplish their goals. As the Student Success Manager for Level, I am happy to say I am supporting students achieve their personal and professional goals daily.
My advice to career changers would be to narrow down what you enjoy about the role you’re in and see how you can best implement those characteristics in what you want to do. Once you know what role you want to fill and are passionate about it, it doesn’t matter what field you’re in.
Use your resources and network as much as you can. It definitely doesn’t hurt to have other people vouch for your work and personality as you change careers. Don’t just sit back and expect things to come to you. Build yourself up and prepare for the field you are about to enter.
Changing careers may be daunting but with the right steps, it’s very doable. Stay confident and good luck!
Tips from Samantha Leonard, Head of Enrollment
I started my career as a Technical Writer as a way to leverage my passion and background in writing. After some time, I realized that while I was still passionate about communication and articulating difficult concepts, I was not very interested in my work. I moved to marketing because I knew it was another path that aligned with my skillset and professional development goals.
When I came to Level, my goal was to start rounding out my background in marketing and business development in a fast-paced, enrollment driven role. I would say to any career changer to take what you already know and dive head first into something new with confidence. Having a transferable skill set and clear goals will help you transition smoothly and set you apart in any industry.
Your network is also huge. Almost every position I’ve worked in has been surfaced through network connections. Go to networking events in the field you are interested in, hand out business cards, ask meaningful questions and connect on LinkedIn. If you see a posting you are passionate about, do your background research. Once you’re educated on a company and their goals don’t be afraid to be proactive and let them know how you will help address them.
Tips from Juliana Lebowitz, Marketing Analyst
I graduated with a degree in Classical Languages, and my first jobs after college were in entry-level marketing. I started learning SQL at my first job so that I didn’t have to rely on developers to segment customers for targeted marketing. Because I enjoyed the data analysis component so much, I took Level Bootcamp to master those skills and secure a role in analytics. My advice to career changers is to start solving challenges relevant to your desired role or industry. By taking on small projects at work or outside of work (in places like kaggle.com for data projects), you can build a relevant portfolio and speak to your strengths in your desired skill-set, even if you don’t have formal relevant experience.