Career Transition Tales: Erin Payton
Through the Career Transition Tales, you’ll discover real and powerful stories of people switching careers and finding a role at work they truly enjoy. By working with Ama La Vida Coaching, the guests of the Career Transition Tales have been supported and guided through the career transition journeys and successfully gained new careers in their chosen fields. The second incredible guest of the Career Transition Tales is Erin Payton.
Erin had a career in Hollywood for many years and in 2011, she decided to leave it behind to pursue something new. She wasn’t really sure what she wanted to do, but she moved to Chicago in 2012 and started working for a Certified Financial Planner who needed help marketing his business. Even though she hadn’t had any prior experience in marketing, Erin helped him successfully grow his business using various marketing strategies she intuitively implemented. She enjoyed dipping her toe into the marketing pool and she wanted to learn more about the field of marketing from an academic perspective, so she applied to the M.S. program of Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University in 2015. By this time, she was working as an Administration Assistant at a law firm.
DG: Was there anyone at your organization you spoke to before deciding to attend University?
EP: “I kept it a secret from my bosses for the first six months I was in grad school (I attended class at night twice a week), because I didn’t want them to think it was affecting my job performance. Also, once they found out that I was in school, they would be made aware that staying at that company in my role was not in my long term plans.”
DG: What were the most important things you were looking for in a new company?
EP: “I wanted to work for a company that made a real commitment to its employees to invest in them and help them grow. My current company has won various awards for being one of the world’s most ethical companies, one of the best companies for LGBT equality and one of the top companies for working mothers. These values were very much in alignment with my own.”
Erin has successfully transitioned her career from an Administration Assistant to a Senior Associate of Integrated Marketing Communications at a commercial real estate firm. She applied for her current role after seeing a job posting for it on LinkedIn. It took around 6 months from when Erin started the job search process until she received her offer and she attended 12 different interviews. During this time, Erin turned to ALV for support during her career transition and she worked with her coach, Teague Simoncic in the “Get That Job” program.
DG: What made you decide to work with ALV to help you achieve your career transition goals?
EP: “I was frustrated that I had been going on interviews, but not receiving any offers. I felt I was doing all the necessary things to get another job, but nothing was clicking.”
DG: What were some of the benefits of working with your ALV coach?
EP: “Between working with Teague and going through the modules, the “Get That Job Program” really helped me think through the job search process in a way that I wasn’t necessarily able to do on my own. I enjoyed the assistance on my resume and the tools to jazz up my LinkedIn profile (funnily enough, I discovered my current role via a LinkedIn job posting!), as well as the weekly check-ins with Teague.”
The hardest part of Erin’s career transition was getting prospective employers to see that while she didn’t have much experience in marketing, her education had properly prepared her to transition into a marketing role. She found that it was important to tell her story effectively about the reason why she wanted to transition her careers and to be patient. Erin knew that she really wanted a career in marketing and she believed that persistence would eventually get her to where she wanted to be.
DG: Do you have any advice for other people looking to transition their careers?
EP: “I think it’s important to note that it’s not easy making a career transition. I think as business professionals, we all want to appear that we’re confident and we have it all figured out, but it is challenging! I think talking to other people about these challenges is the best way to work through them. There’s no need to be ashamed or embarrassed because we’ve all been there!”