What work were you doing before your career change?
I was working in project management for a small illustration agency, as well as creating my own illustrations on a freelance basis.
What made you reach out for coaching in the first place?
I graduated from university having no idea what I wanted to do, which made me feel pretty lost and stuck. It was hard to get out of the negative mindset I associated with job hunting, especially as this coincided with COVID. I decided to look for a work coach because I needed someone to help guide me in the right direction and to keep me motivated. Also, the tools and techniques I was previously using for job hunting weren’t getting me anywhere.
Describe your experience of coaching. (What results, insights or learnings did you get from the coaching?)
My coaching experience with Chloe was motivational and positive. From feeling pretty hopeless at the start, Chloe’s positive energy and valued experience made me feel excited to look for a job. I didn’t dread it as much. For me, the most effective advice was to cold call people from companies I admired. This not only increased my confidence but also allowed me to learn first hand about a role. These were informal chats which allowed for open and honest conversations. Another helpful task was undertaking deep research. Previously when I’d been job hunting, I would aimlessly scroll through LinkedIn active jobs which just resulted in me feeling disappointed and tired. A far more energising approach which Chloe suggested was to really think about what sort of industries I’m interested in, have options, research these companies, find companies which are similar to ones you admire. I hadn’t been effectively using LinkedIn, and there are so many tips and tricks I wasn’t aware of. In general, the sessions allowed me to reflect, which helped me with both my career path and my personal life.
What new path did you choose and why did you choose it?
A month after I had my final session with Chloe I landed a job at a Learning and Development company. It was great to be able to support teams with their own personal growth in the world of work, and outside of it. 9 months later I chose a different career path. I knew I always wanted to work in the creative world, but wasn’t too sure what role. So I moved on to a more creative role, in the production team of a creative agency.
How did you actually make the change? What was the process?
I took the time to think about my values and strengths. This was one of the first exercises Chloe and I did together. Having reflected on this, I could then start thinking about what sort of industries I’d enjoy working in. From there, researching companies was really exciting because I was discovering places I could see myself working at. Generating as many career ideas as possible was a helpful exercise as it forces you to think outside the box. Chloe recommended doing this in a visual map, and being visual learner, this worked well for me. Then there were some really practical and actionable tasks to undertake. Reaching out to people on LinkedIn who you have a common connection with for an informational interview to get a deep dive into their role. I found this method invaluable, as you’re gaining connections as well as information about a role.
What were the best and most challenging parts of your career change?
The most challenging part was cold calling people, it was really daunting the first few times as it seems quite unnatural, but most of the time people were really helpful and keen to talk about their work and what they do. Of course, another challenge is rejection, but I kept reminding myself that the process is all good experience. In my opinion, the best part of searching for a job is the reflection process, I really learnt a lot about myself. Having Chloe pose questions which you wouldn’t normally think about yourself, and having someone there to discuss these ideas with was invaluable.
How is your new path going?
I’m really enjoying working in production, it’s exciting and no project is ever the same. I work with a great team and I’m being constantly challenged and thrown in the deep end, which for me is the best way to learn. I feel like I’m moving closer to some of the goals which I set myself with Chloe back when we had our sessions.
What advice would you give someone who is also thinking of changing careers?
My advice for someone who is thinking about changing careers is to dedicate a solid amount of time to really think about why you want to move on. Sometimes problems faced at work can be solved where you are, through conversations with team members, managers etc. If that’s not the case, and you wish to delve into an entirely new industry, I would definitely recommend a work coach. It’s so helpful having an outsider’s thoughts and expertise. If you are unsure of what path to take next, I recommend to be open and don’t close yourself off to things which you wouldn’t normally go for. Research, research, research in out of the box ways, don’t just scroll on job sites. Research companies first, then reach out to them. Even if they don’t have active job openings, don’t let this stop you getting in touch as the majority of jobs aren’t advertised. They might even find a role that they think would fit you perfectly.