My Career Journey Update
My dream came true!
I am OFFICIALLY a Queer Filipino-American Woman in TECH!
I just accepted an offer to become a Marketing Operations Associate for an EdTech company that I am truly passionate about. The people I've met were so welcoming and knowledgeable; I feel like I can learn a lot from everyone on the team. I'm so excited to grow within this field and be part of the movement of changing the way a student learns.
Let me be clear, this is NOT a dev job. Of course, that is a long-term goal of mine. I am simply breaking down my long-term goal into smaller goals, exploring other opportunities, and taking this position as the first step to grow in the EdTech industry. I’m excited to learn more skills and see where life takes me!
So, how did I make that change? I took these 3 steps.
This was a hard and long step.
I worked in mental health for only 2 years and while mental health will ALWAYS be important to me, I realized I was no longer passionate about my previous company's goals and visions. I did some self-reflection and asked myself the following questions to map out my career journey and passions:
- What kind of life do you want to live?
- What are you passionate about?
- With the tech field being so large, what specific industry do you want grow in?
After answering those questions, I took the time outside of work to study and grow my marketing and coding/dev skills, then did a lot of research. Knowing my passion for learning, I searched for EdTech companies that aligned with my values and beliefs. I would dive deep into a company's website and pay attention to their reviews to see if they supported a good work-life balance, professional development, and diversity/representation.
I chose to stick with a few companies that I liked, and then started to get active on my social media platforms and networked with various professionals.
2. Pay attention to who is in your network!
If you think about it, it's a small world!
I noticed that I had a few mutual connections with my top EdTech company choice and it turns out they were some of my old high school classmates who work as engineers! I immediately messaged one of them and asked if we could catch up on a phone call and talk about our careers/life updates.
WOW. It was such a fun conversation and so cool to hear where life has been taking us. He shared with me the company's diverse culture, amazing product/software, and how they're changing so many students' lives. We talked about the marketing team and I explained to him that I've been interested in the operations position, and he was so encouraging. He told me to go for it and even offered to put in a good word for me. Then after that, I applied!
Pay attention to your mutual connections! You never know who you will run into!
3. Craft your story!
Take the time to really prep for interviews, craft your story and make sure to ASK FOR HELP and feedback. Here are things I did to prepare myself for the interviews:
- I asked people from my 100Devs bootcamp to help me craft my story (my career journey, why I'm looking into tech, etc.) and prepare answers for various kinds of interview questions.
- I asked my partner to go over with me my resume and cover letter, and she helped me word my achievements in ways that matched the job description. Shoutout to her! I had to really work on it, haha.
- I practiced the STAR (situation, task, action, result) method to summarize and quantify my achievements and impact from my last company.
- I stayed in contact with the recruiter and asked for interview tips. This helped a lot! That gave me a good understanding of what the team is really looking for.
- I came up with questions to ask the recruiters and managers to show them that I am interested and serious about the company and its position.
- And finally, I practiced power poses to give myself confidence and peace before going into interviews!
I cannot emphasize this enough. Do NOT apply to hundreds of jobs and expect an offer. And, you don't want to work for just ANY company that sells ANY product/service. I recommend for you to figure out what industry you want to get involved in, pick 3 companies you admire, look at their job openings, try to network with people within that industry/company, and work on the skills they present on the applications. Focus on what YOU value and find companies that share that same value.
If you truly want to make a change in your career, you need to prioritize your mental health. It is difficult balancing a full-time job, the job search, study-time to learn new skills, and relationships. Learn to say "no" to things and utilize your lunch breaks. Ask for self-care days from your loved ones and they will understand that your career is a priority for now. If you can, keep your weekends FREE to relax, catch up on sleep, and to be present with your family.
It can be a lot to juggle, but making the steps to change your career is POSSIBLE. It'll take time, it'll be hard, it'll be stressful, but IT CAN HAPPEN.
Thanks for reading my friend!
Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/izaye_visuals
-- Note from Izzy:
If you feel comfortable to, you should also talk to your supervisor or manager about your career goals. You are more than an employee and they should help you grow! Check if your company reimburses for training/classes. The skills you learn in those courses are beneficial to you AND the company. You never know; you could even move within the company if that aligns with your career! Possibilities are endless.
Your career path is your OWN unique career path. There are many ways to achieve your dreams and goals; who cares if it doesn't align with someone else's or if it takes longer than what you anticipated! It's ok to CHANGE your goals. At the end of the day, we are all learning, growing and finding things that we are PASSIONATE about.