Case 6

Seasoned sales professional (20+ years of experience) applies a targeted approach to his job search to make an industry change into a top financial services company.

Consider the job search process a full-time job with extra hours of overtime. Talk to as many people as possible, leverage your network, and consider the services of a professional coach, like Diana.” (Bernie)

What was your situation prior to entering the coaching program?

The first decade of my career was spent in sales and marketing related roles. After this, I took on a Product Management role at a top telecommunications company. I experienced a number of organizational changes during this time and felt it was a good idea to pursue the Executive MBA with Ivey to refresh my business skills. After completing the MBA program, the business unit I was in was restructured and my position was eliminated.

While I was in career transition and looking to switch industries, I got to a point where I needed that extra level of support to help me shake off the perception hiring managers had of me when looking at my resume. I knew I didn’t want to move back into Sales or Product Management role, so I needed guidance from a trusted advisor who could help me isolate my “transferrable skills” and help me better understand my strengths and perceptions people had of me – so some deeper self-reflection.

What steps did you take to differentiate your job application?

Diana helped me really understand my capabilities and value I could offer a future employer. What was also really valuable was understanding how others perceived me – something that was achieved by reading the book called Stand Out by Marcus Buckingham – which Diana recommended for me. Diana’s coaching sessions also forced me to look inwards and do some serious self-reflection. The other piece was helping me polish up my resume, cover letters, my story and my message.

In addition to completing the standard requirements of customizing each resume and cover letter for each position I was applying to, I really focused on leveraging my personal network, primarily through LinkedIn, to help me stand out from all other applicants.

I wasn’t shy about asking my network for help and I let everyone know that I would appreciate their support when the time was right. In addition to asking for help, I also offered to help my network in any way I could. I didn’t limit my request to my professional network – I expanded to everyone I knew – friends, family, friends-of-friends, and other individuals who knew me personally.

What was your success coming out of your coaching sessions?

I successfully made an industry change! I transitioned into a top company in the financial services sector.

Do you have any advice for other professionals seeking to make a career or industry change?

  •  Consider the job search process a full-time job with extra hours of overtime.
  • Talk to as many people as possible.
  • Consider using the services of a professional coach, like Diana.
  • Really know yourself, your transferrable skills and the value you bring to the table.
  • Leverage all the capabilities and features of LinkedIn – consider upgrading to the Job Seeker account.
  • Be realistic in your position and compensation expectations. Ask your network where they see you fitting in if you were applying for a position in their organization. Ask to meet with HR and other Senior-level hiring managers in order for them to assess your “fit” within the company and their business unit. Even though my contacts encouraged me to look for a Senior Manager role at the organization I was applying for, my contact in HR and others told me to be more realistic in my expectations, indicating that a Manager level role would make sense since I was coming from outside the industry.
  • When preparing for interviews, leverage your 1st and 2nd degree connections and anyone else you know for background on the company, industry, and tips that will make you stand out from others.
  • Making a position change or industry change with no experience is extremely difficult. This is where your personal direct and indirect network can help you out. These contacts will “sell you” to the hiring managers – giving you a shot for an interview – then it’s up to you to do the rest.
  • Who you know gets you in the door, what you know and do keeps you in the door.