Ep.28 - SOML: How I Made My First Career Move (Finance to Red Bull)
2014 was a year of major changes for me. I was working at Liberty Mutual in Boston. By April, I knew I needed to start looking for a new job in Los Angeles, because my fiancee and I decided to move to L.A.
Long story short, by June, I had two job offers in Los Angeles and I took the offer at Red Bull, where I worked for the next three years. If you are trying to figure out how to make a career change, you are at the right place. I've summarized my journey into 4 lessons, with each assigned a weight, representing its relative importance.
STEP 1 (30%): GET COMPANY'S (RECRUITER'S) ATTENTION
No matter how good a candidate you are, you don't have a shot at getting the job, if you are buried at the bottom of the application pile. Let's face it, the reality is there are more people seeking jobs than quality jobs on the market. As a result, you need to find a way to make your resume rise to the top. There are three main ways, I used both #1 and #2.
Personal Connection: I applied to a financial services corporate job in Los Angeles, and I believe I was picked out partially because the hiring manager used to work at Liberty Mutual. That was my connection. I ended up getting flown in for the interview and offered a job there. If you have any connection, you should definitely leverage it, as it's your best resource.
LinkedIn: I did not know anyone at Red Bull, but I thought it would be a really exciting opportunity. As a result, as soon as I applied online, I subscribed to LinkedIn Premium, identified the Red Bull recruiters, and DM'ed a few of them. Amazingly they replied back! Before I knew it, I was flown in for an interview.
Alumni Network: This is super valuable if you went to school with an active alumni base, where you are looking for a job. However, this is still difficult, because you still need to develop the relationship first. Most people don't just hire you because you went to the same school. The best thing to do is to start going to alumni events and get to know people. With time, it could lead to professional mentorship, job connections or just friendship.
STEP 2 (10%): KNOW YOUR MARKETABLE SKILLS
You need to know your marketable skills so you can strategically apply to positions you actually have a shot at. For example, it does not make sense for me to apply to creative producer positions at Disney, because I have absolutely no background in that.
Change Position Within the Same Industry: Out of two offers I got, the financial services one was the easy one, because I knew exactly what I could offer, which is tangible skill on price modeling, product management, and data analytics in the context of insurance. I can speak the language and I actually know what I am talking about.
Switch to A Different Industry: The path to Red Bull was a bit difficult. I only applied to the job in Data Insights, because I knew my way in was via data analytics. Everything else I learned on product management, and price modeling were not relevant to Red Bull. If you are trying to get a job in a different industry, you will absolutely get this question: Why here? I made sure to emphasize that I wanted to continue my development in data analytics, and this position matched my career development path.
STEP 3 (30%): RESEARCH THE COMPANY LIKE CRAZY
If you are really serious about a company, you need to spend days researching the company from macro to micro.
Macro Level Research: At the macro level, really understand what the product/service is. Try it if it is something you can afford/consume. If it is a consumer product like Red Bull, buy and try it. If it is a media product, watch it and see what it is all about. In my case, since Red Bull is a reputable established company, it was not hard for me to try the product, nor find research papers/news articles on it. I spent about a week trying to absorb it all.
Micro Level Research: At the micro level, do your homework on what the department/team does, and what all the responsibilities are, and all the skillsets in order to perform well. If you have a friend who works there, that's your golden ticket. If not, read the job description a dozen times, and google anything you don't understand.
STEP 4 (30%): BE A GENUINE HUMAN BEING
People tend to over-focus on the qualifications alone, but it is just as important, if not more, for the team to like you. Let's say you are qualified for the job as far as the skillset goes, people still only want to hire people they can work with. The easiest way to demonstrate that, is to be a real human being, instead of a show off, a jerk, or a know-it-all.
In my experience, I have seen multiple candidates with stellar resumes being rejected, because either they don't come across as stellar as the resume suggests in person, or they come across as disingenuous. In the end, no team wants to spend 8 hours a day for the next year or two with someone who they cannot stand.
I hope you enjoyed the article. Follow me on Instagram: dollars_and_sense_la.