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Changing careers halfway: How to pivot and succeed

Ever spend the day wishing you could change careers, but don’t know how? Jumping into a new job in another sector is not only possible, it’s something people are embracing more than ever. Many Canadians have used the pandemic as an opportunity to reset and pivot – and, given the right tools, so can you.
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Ever spend the day wishing you could change careers, but don’t know how? Jumping into a new job in another sector is not only possible, it’s something people are embracing more than ever. Many Canadians have used the pandemic as an opportunity to reset and pivot – and, given the right tools, so can you.

According to a December 2021 survey by Randstad Canada, 43% of working Canadians said they would probably look for a job in the new year, while another survey from Morneau Shepell found that the pandemic has inspired nearly one quarter of Canadian respondents to consider a career change.

In times of economic uncertainty, the desire for change can be scary, but pivoting to the right sector can actually increase your job security, especially if you have the right training. Just ask Rosen Monteiro and Tammy Hart, who completed Palette Skills’ cybersecurity training and tech sales bootcamp, respectively. Both received job offers and were hired within a month of completing their training.

A love for technology

Originally from Bangalore, India, Monteiro moved to Canada when she was just 22 years old, shortly after earning her bachelor of engineering in information technology. She immediately enrolled in a post-graduate certificate program in project management at Centennial College, in Toronto.

“I was searching for a job and as a newbie in the country, I found it really difficult to get entry-level work in tech,” she explains. “So I got my first job in the pharma industry and I just continued with it for three years.”

Once she realized she was unhappy with where she had ended up, Monteiro started researching fields in the tech sector, which she’d always hoped to come back to. She saw a big opportunity in cybersecurity, with companies everywhere needing help to manage and protect data.

After more research on where to get the best training, Monteiro chose Palette’s Accelerated Cybersecurity Training Program. Even without offering an official certification, Monteiro realized the Palette program would give her the foundation she needed to succeed.

“At the end of the day, when I sit for an interview, I’m being judged based on the knowledge that I have, and not on the certifications I put forward,” she says, adding that it wasn’t just the technical training that made the course valuable: the Palette Skills program also taught her important soft skills, and showed her how expertise she’d earned elsewhere could transfer to cybersecurity.

Sales as a springboard

Tammy Hart is a 40-year-old mother of two whose successful interior decorating business, focused specifically on older people’s homes, was decimated by the pandemic.

“Ethically, I could not go into older people’s homes without fear of infecting them, or of bringing something home to my family,” she explains. “So I made the decision to close the business and went back to university for marketing.”

While she was working through her advanced certificate program, Hart determined she wanted to focus on B2B tech marketing. So when she connected with Palette Skills, which offered a full scholarship for an identical course to one she was planning to take, she was intrigued. That course was in tech sales.

“I thought to myself, if this is paid for by the government, how do I have anything to lose from taking this opportunity?” Hart notes. “It just made sense to start in sales, to really understand the customer pain points, the product, the services, and to know our target market before moving into marketing.”

Because Hart is at a different point in her life and career, she had different transferable skills to bring to the table, and different challenges to face as she changed industries. Her comfort level with interacting with clients – both in getting to know them and finding solutions for their needs – was high. On the other hand, her familiarity with a lot of the tech terminology needed some work, as did her interviewing skills. Fortunately, all of that was addressed during Palette’s B2B/Tech Sales Bootcamp.

Connecting with industry partners during the bootcamp resulted in Hart getting multiple interviews and multiple job offers as well. The result is a new career as a business development representative, with lots of potential for advancement, in a company she says aligns with her values. Now, she urges others thinking about changing careers to take the Palette Skills sales bootcamp.

“Don’t think about it, just do it,” Hart says. “You can’t fully transition if you don’t embrace a new process, if you don’t get outside of your comfort zone, if you don’t challenge your current status quo. So be open and ready and just embrace it.”

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