Insights on navigating big and small career shifts

Planning a career change? Whether you’ve been thinking about a shift for a while, or an unexpected twist in your life has altered your outlook, you’re in good company. According to the US-based Forrester Research, the average person will hold 12 to 15 different jobs in their lifetime. Here, Wengage speaks with two staff members at TalentMinded, a top Toronto-based talent acquisition solutions company, to find out what they were asking themselves before they made their own career switch.

How much of a change do I want?
For Laura Boisvert, Talent Administrator at TalentMinded, her role in administration was still right for her, but she was looking for a different industry (formerly she was involved in catalogue marketing for a major department store, and then a legal assistant at a law firm). Her colleague Hailey Houston, on the other hand, wanted a bigger change. “My favourite part of my old job [as a fashion retail buyer] was managing my relationships with all of my vendors. It was the rest of the job I wasn’t loving.” Her new role as Client Implementation & Project Specialist gives her that opportunity to be the first face for new clients and to develop relationships while taking on new challenges and greater accountability.

How do I figure out what I want?
Hailey worked for about six years in the fashion industry, and when she was deciding what steps to take next, she thought back to her successful internship during college where she was placed in the recruiting department of an upscale department store, and decided to pursue a role in recruitment. Similarly, Laura’s very first job was at a recruitment company, and she was still intrigued by the industry.

How do I talk up my transferable skills?
In addition to the ace relationship-building skills she built in her former role, Hailey emphasized her decision-making. “I was responsible for a big chunk of a retailer’s business; responsible for buying millions of dollars’ worth of product,” she says. “Having that ownership and accountability is really helpful in any job.” For Laura, one of her key skills is what she calls her “old-school customer service.” “The customer care piece, being able to do a cold call and reach out to people on the phone is really important to me,” she says. “With emails, I take the time to thank people. I sign off with ‘kind regards’ and it’s very deliberate. I get back to people and never leave them hanging. People feel that there’s a person at the end of their message and that person is interested in them; it’s not just ‘here you go, bye.’”

How do you get past the doubts?
“One of my biggest fears was that I was going to make a change and then not like it,” says Hailey. “To take that leap and leave an industry I knew and was growing in—that was really scary. I wondered if I should go back to school, but I discovered you can learn so much by immersing yourself in a new role; don’t think you have to go back to school to be able to do the job. That gave me some peace of mind and helped make the decision without being quite as scared.” The change paid off. “I thought I knew how stressed and unhappy I was, but it wasn’t until I actually switched that I could put it in perspective. I’m much more excited to go to work in the morning now!”

Be sure to check out Business Connections [link] for more articles about the world of work and career-planning. And visit TalentMinded.ca to learn more about they help companies of all sizes grow their business and teams through high-impact talent acquisition programs.


Hailey Houston, Client Implementation & Project Specialist at TalentMinded
Laura Boisvert, Talent Administrator at TalentMinded