Gayle Draper ICHR
The Journey to Customer Technology, Lead Analyst
Navigating a Career Change from Customer Service to Customer Technology Lead Analyst
A pure delight to work with, she is a talented and effervescent young woman who was referred to me by a past client.
She began working with her long-term employer in the utilities industry while still in high school. She had applied herself to build a very successful and progressive career while earning her Bachelor of Science followed by an MBA.
We started working together when she was contemplating making a move to a new company as she had not been successful with applications within. Well paid, she ultimately decided to stay with her employer and honour the MBA investment agreement. We focused on branding her as a leader in her working relationships and career marketing materials. We took a break for six months as she focused on success in other aspects of her life. When she felt that her forward momentum had stalled at work, we started working together again to engage in a job search strategy and find a path toward more leadership opportunities.
The Challenge from her Perspective
How do I get recognized for my MBA? How do I start implementing what I’ve learned to support my career progression? How do I decide whether to move up or move outside of the company?
How can I brand myself as a mature professional woman in a company where I started as a teenager?
Intentional Career and Coaching Conversations
We started with a career vision exercise to develop a strategy and explore building her leadership skills.
We discovered that she has a multitude of strengths in social media and customer service, advanced software skills, and a very solid commitment to diversity and inclusion. In fact, she enjoys getting involved in DEI committees and initiatives. We also did some assessments surrounding how she can best apply her strong sense of emotional intelligence in a leadership setting.
Her DISC assessment revealed a natural leader with a high ID style. Personable and approachable with a great work ethic, she thrives in an environment or a role where she can feel included and has plenty of opportunities to participate. With her DISC assessment as her guide, she wanted to learn how to better communicate and lead different personality styles.
Exploring the Labour Market and Informational Interviews
We put a plan together and started on the job searching portion of her strategy. The first task was to expand her network outside of her current company using Intentional Careers HR’s eBook The Hidden Job Market.
Her resume and LinkedIn profile were already strong from our initial work together, but we did make some critical adjustments to showcase her evolving brand identity. She started to apply for internal roles that sparked her interest, and with other companies, too.
With the help of Intentional Careers HR’s Interview Coaching Workbook, and with her professional brand and engaging personality, she landed interviews and was in the top 3 on more than a few occasions!
The Learning Plan
The positive momentum encouraged her to keep working hard on her strategy. Through coaching, she discovered she had been “feeding the chickens” rather than targeted job search through the Hidden Job Market. The strategy is simple. Spend time and energy on the research so you can present your unique value proposition to the employer and the posting's needs.
Her learning plan was based on building on her digital marketing skills, and targeting what skills were needed outside of the labour market she had been working in. We sourced many no-cost opportunities and added them to her LinkedIn profile and resume. She really did her homework and put a lot of preparation time into her strategy. She enrolled in HubSpot and LinkedIn Learning courses to make sure her skills were very current for a fast-paced, competitive market.
Branding for the Career Niche
We invested a lot of our time in branding for her engaging persona. We also targeted a skills-based resume showcasing her accomplishments and progressive promotions.
From her email signature to her professional style, mannerisms, and correspondence, even down to her zoom meeting background, the aim was to ensure that she could not be mistaken for that teenage girl many of her colleagues still knew her as.
Many of these changes were small adjustments that anybody can practice with, but collectively they told an impactful story of a professional woman ready for the next promotion.
2-page skills-based resume
Dynamic LinkedIn profile
Base cover letters
The Pandemic Affect
She was very fortunate to have escaped the effects of the pandemic in the job market. Engaged in shift work, she easily adapted to the company’s work-from-home policy, taking any pandemic response changes in her stride.
It was a different story for her customers and some of her coworkers. Luckily, this is where her compassionate, encouraging, and engaging nature came into great use. The pandemic clearly demonstrated the essential value of emotionally intelligent personalities on any team and in any company, particularly in a leadership capacity.
The Next Chapter
Throughout the coaching journey, we agreed that looking internally for a new job had the most potential for career progression.
It worked! With her new professional brand, enhanced interview skills, and a clear sense of direction, she targeted and secured the promotion that she wanted. She is now a Lead Analyst overseeing her Customer Service Team at the Parent company.
We are still working together throughout the onboarding process, which can be an overwhelming period for many. The career coaching process will continue while she transitions into her Team Leadership duties.
While we were reviewing her journey, I asked her to think about what made the biggest impact, in her own words:
Before we met, I was set on leaving my company. I did not know where I would go, what I would do, and if I could even afford to take a pay cut. Gayle offered me guidance on how to go about pivoting to my next career role.
Our coaching sessions helped me to focus on not only my professional goals but my personal ones as well.
During our time together we enhanced my resume and updated my LinkedIn profile while Gayle taught me the ins and outs of how to best utilize LinkedIn.
We worked on my interview skills and developed the best technique on how to be comfortable telling my story in a short, yet productive manner.
"Thank you for all your guidance. Being able to work with you is a blessing".
The Road Trip
When I begin coaching relationships, I define it as a road trip. The people I work with choose the direction and we drive momentum forward together but I am always in the passenger seat with options and suggestions for consideration.
They choose the pace and learn how to navigate as I coach them through a unique career transition.
My role as their Career Transition Coach is to challenge them, cheer for them, and sometimes catch them before a stumble. Some people have never driven their careers or realized they could. They have idled in the back seat or trunk waiting for a solution to happen without striving for it. My goal is to give driving lessons during our road trip and define a continued career path that is anchored in confidence for the future journey.
Career Stories - A summer series of inspirational career transitions | www.intentionalcareershr.com
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