At WorkSimple, we get a lot of people asking us about their careers, how to manage themselves better, and how to move up the ladder. For instance, we recently received the following question:
I’m currently in sales, but I really want to transition to marketing. I’d also like to stay at my current company, so I think moving departments will be a little easier. What are the steps I need to take to make this happen?
Well Tara, we’re glad you posed this question to us. Like Tara, many people want to work in a new industry, but they don’t know (or perhaps don’t commit to) how to get there. In Tara’s case, she wants to move from the busy world of sales, to the complex world of marketing. As with any career change, calculated steps need to be taken in order to achieve your goal.
Well, fret not! The Simpletons are on the case. Here’s what Tara — and anyone else in the same position — needs to do in order to make an easy career transition:
1. Know where you want to go
Tara wants to move from sales to marketing. Well, what part of marketing? As we noted, it’s a pretty complex industry with lots of different components, like product development, public relations, research, field marketing, social media, logistics, etc. So, for Tara, she needs to figure out what area of marketing she’d like to work in since her overall direction will need to be catered to this decision. This will make the other steps a lot easier.
2. Take advantage of those around you
Since Tara wants to continue growing in her organization, she should take advantage of the employees who are already work in the marketing department. Ask people to lunch, send some emails, bring forth those important questions. Plus, since Tara wants to eventually end up in this department, it’s in her best interest to find out what the day-to-day operations are like, what she needs to do to succeed, as well as keep up with future openings and opportunities. And, of course, she has to see if it’s even an option to move into this department.
Think of this step as a form of proactive networking. If members of the marketing department are aware of Tara’s interest in transitioning, they’ll be more inclined to help should she need it.
3. Prepare, prepare, prepare
Once Tara has gotten some insight from members of her organization, she needs to actually prepare for her future in marketing. Based on her research and the track she wants to go on, this may mean going back to school, learning some programs, joining professional organizations, getting some experience, etc. This ensures that Tara not only has the appropriate resume, but also that she’s prepared for her future.
4. Brand yourself
Before Tara starts to present her new and improved marketing self, she needs to build a professional brand in this space. Plus, since she’s probably known for being in the sales department, Tara should think about creating a new image. For instance, if she creates an online portfolio that speaks of her experience, goals she’s working on, feedback and endorsements she’s received, etc., she can further solidify her place in the marketing world.
Additionally, she can also brand herself online by tweeting about relevant industry topics, joining a conversation on LinkedIn, or even blogging about the marketing world. The combination of all of these puts Tara in a new league and allows her to compete with those who have already established themselves in this space.
5. Have the conversation
This may be the hardest part, but Tara needs to have a conversation with her current supervisor for multiple reasons. First, if she hasn’t done so, she needs to address why she wants to move from sales to marketing. Next, since she wants to continue to work in the organization, she needs to “sell” herself into the marketing department (shouldn’t be too hard for Tara since she’s already in sales, right?).
This is where all her proactive work comes into play. When a manager sees that she’s serious about a marketing career, they can be serious about offering her a position. Plus, since Tara is already invested in the company, her boss will be more likely to promote from within since Tara probably knows the ins and outs. It’s a win for everyone!
What do you think? What are some other steps to take when you’re changing your career?