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  • Writer's pictureGayle Draper ICHR

The Journey to Digital Marketing Coordination

Navigating a Career Change from Self Employment to Digital Marketing

Engaging and personable, she had a background as a project coordinator and experience running her own graphic design business. She had taken a fully remote role in a government agency during the pandemic. Unfortunately, her experience was negative, and struggled to determine her next steps.

She was referred to me by two past clients and had already begun a project management course and was actively seeking work with few experiences of success.

The Challenge from her Perspective

How do I rebuild my confidence? How do I find a well-paying job that I like? Where do I fit in with the labour market? How will I manage to earn enough money for retirement on my own? How do I explain the reason I am no longer at my last job?

Intentional Career and Coaching Conversations

We started with a DISC leadership assessment to highlight her strengths, as we rebuilt her confidence. We also worked with a focus on emotional intelligence and set goals for wellness.

Together we discovered that she has a very high IC style. Organized and an excellent planner, her biggest strengths were surrounding relationship building, negotiating, and communication, with a keen sense of discipline. We reflected on relationship challenges with past group work and determined strategies on how to respond to other styles, as we redeveloped her leadership confidence.

She had also invested in a certified project management course, but she found it very challenging to focus on her job search while studying at the same time. She recognized her low resilience and we prioritized her energy. We made the decision to put the job search on hold to allow her the time and space she needed to gain her designation. This would also benefit her resume with a current micro-credential.

We spent time focusing on how imposter syndrome was impacting her efforts. We also worked through Intentional Careers HR’s eBook surrounding Change, Challenges, and Choices which explores discovering her ‘change style’ and using it to manage uncertainty. She also utilized Intentional Careers HR’s eBook on Self-Confidence and Asserting Yourself.

Exploring the Labour Market and Informational Interviews

We started to explore project management roles in different sectors, while we engaged with Intentional Careers HR’s network and business community for informational interviews. Because of her marketing background and being a natural with people in a one-on-one setting, her engaging personality was able to shine in her interviews.

However, while she was confident in building relationships, she was nervous about leading in a group setting. In the past, she had found that colleagues would regularly speak over her, and she couldn’t find her voice. The thought of expressing herself made her feel anxious, so our interview coaching sessions concentrated on techniques on how to manage responses.

Through the informational interview process, we were able to narrow down areas of focus and decided that her digital marketing skills should be updated.

The Learning Plan

We put the certified project management designation on hold as the time commitment was taking away from her much-needed sense of balance and desire to secure full-time employment. Instead, she used HubSpot’s learning portal to brush up on her digital marketing skills.

Branding for the Career Niche

With a strong background in both marketing and project management, we decided to put together two different and targeted resumes. First, we built a skills-based resume for marketing. Next, we developed a separate skills-based resume for project management.

Finally, we created a kick ass LinkedIn profile showcasing her dynamic skills and friendly, positive personality. With a growing sense of confidence, she started intentionally networking on LinkedIn utilizing hidden job marketing strategies. Using Intentional Careers HR’s eBook The Hidden Job Market, she found and applied for a role that looked ideal and she was invited for an interview.

She landed a strong opportunity with a major National Tourism Event but the application and interview process had a very long open-ended timeline. We decided our efforts would be better placed on balanced and intentional professional growth. We were disappointed when what seemed like another strong opportunity didn’t lead anywhere. However, we would find that there was something else out there for her. Something healthier, more aligned to her values and her wellness plan. The career marketing materials were:

  • 2 page skills based marketing resume

  • 2page skills-based project management resume

  • Dynamic LinkedIn profile

  • 2 Base cover letters

The Pandemic Affect

The pandemic affected nearly everyone’s mental health in some way, and because she was already on a journey of healing when the pandemic hit, she needed to double down on her self-care efforts.

She actively found opportunities for social interaction through volunteering and dedicated herself to maintaining a balanced, healthy lifestyle that wasn’t only centred around her job search. With a self-care plan, she learned to foster her self-worth and nurture her mental wellbeing.

The Next Chapter

Her patience and self-compassion paid off when she secured a role as a digital marketing coordinator with a community senior’s center. Today, she is flourishing! Supportive and engaged, the staff, seniors, and volunteers she works with provide genuine care for each other, are enthusiastic about their community and are involved in social initiatives.

She continues to care for herself, and the environment and culture that she’s found herself in have allowed her to establish the balance that she needed all along. It’s not always easy to find and recognize the right culture for your personality type while job searching. But the best way to find out is to know yourself, your strengths, and your needs, and to practice self-compassion along the way.

Six months later she has created the opportunity to stretch her skills and take on more responsibility. Her role is now more senior, rebranding the company and she is evolving.

Her Reflections

While we were reviewing her journey, I asked her to think about what made the biggest impact:

  • Regular check-ins to make sure I was staying on target but not overdoing it.

  • Honest feedback and reframing conversations. Looking at situations and job positions from different points of view.

  • Reminding her that getting myself into a happy, rested state of mind is essential to make a great impression in a job interview.

  • Doing the DISC and personality assessments to discover what parts of the industry fed her soul and what didn’t. We created a grading scale of acceptable to unacceptable when deciding which postings she would apply for, as well as post-interview assessments.

"The biggest difference between Gayle and other career supports is her deep caring for her clients and their success – whatever form that might take. She was a rock for me during a very stressful time in my life. Gayle was there to listen to an emotional unload or two when that wasn’t her job. She gave me faith in myself and earned my full and complete trust."

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 |

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