What was your situation before entering the coaching program?
I did my undergraduate degree in Political Science and Music. After I finished, I decided to pursue a role in government because I was very passionate about making a large-scale impact. I accumulated a lot of experience branding and marketing policies but I realized that it was time to move to the private sector. I went back to school to get my MBA with the hopes of transitioning into the telecommunications industry.
When I finished my MBA, I found that I was having difficulties transitioning into the high-tech sector. Communicating my value to employers who didn’t fully understand what it meant to work in the government roles that I did was a challenge. I also experienced some pushback from recruiters, who were nervous about submitting my résumé to my target organizations since they didn’t perceive that I had the right experience.
What steps did you take to differentiate yourself?
Diana really helped me re-brand myself so that I could communicate my value. First, she encouraged me to do my due diligence on the telecom industry so that I could better understand how to translate my experience into terms that my potential employers would understand. One of the simple things that Diana encouraged me to do was to re-word my position titles. In the public sector, I was a Policy Advisor, which means that I helped market government services. Essentially, I was a Product Marketing Manager, a title that is meaningful in the tech industry. By re-branding myself in this way, it became easier for me to demonstrate my fit with telecom organizations.
Diana also made me realize how much practice it takes to re-brand. By helping me recognize my core strengths and translate my experience, I was able to boil down my message to make it as clear as possible. She also helped me tighten up my story and brand so that I could make an impact by communicating concisely and compellingly.
Finally, she encouraged me to leverage LinkedIn. By reaching out to my connections and requesting introductions to their connections, I was able to expand my network into the tech industry and find out what types of roles were available at which companies. I found that the key was to connect with influencers at the Director-level who could help champion my application.
What was your success coming out of your coaching sessions?
I was hired into a top telecommunications firm with the help of an internal champion who referred me for a position. I still work there today!
Are there aspects of your coaching with Diana that you still apply in your career?
Diana taught me a lot about how to brand myself and the value of self-promotion. She encouraged me to become comfortable marketing myself and talking about my accomplishments, a skill that I continue to use to assist me to find new opportunities.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals with job search challenges?
It’s so important to establish a compelling personal brand so that you can communicate your message effectively. Without a clear idea of who you are and what you stand for, you won’t be able to market yourself in a way that makes an impact. To develop your brand:
1. Focus on your strengths.
2. Focus on your passions.
3. Focus on your experience.
Once you combine all three aspects of yourself together and do your research, you’ll be able to find an ideal, achievable role that you’ll fit with. Branding should always come first in your job search because you’ll only be memorable in networking and interview situations after you discover how to deliver your concise and compelling story.