New Year, New Career
Sarah Evans, Former Digital Strategist
Tips for success when changing careers, as shared by our newest digital strategist at Viget.
The New Year often brings change. Many people use the new year as an opportunity to reflect on their goals and set changes in motion. Last year my goal was to try a new career, leaving behind the one I’d worked in for nearly 10 years - Higher Education. Here’s what I’ve learned in my nine months as part of the Strategy team at Viget:
You were hired for a reason! Don’t let imposter syndrome get the best of you. When I started at Viget, I couldn’t stop mentioning how unfamiliar I was with everything tech. I felt the need to apologize for knowing so little about the core aspects of what our company does, but in reality, I was undermining myself and sowing doubt where it wasn’t needed. I was hired with a clear understanding of my background, and no one expected me to be an expert in my new field - they just expected me to want to learn.
Be Prepared for a Longer Ramp Up
Speaking of learning, you’re going to be in “learning mode” for way longer than you’re used to, and that’s ok. If you’re anything like me, you’re used to being an expert, and starting from scratch may feel uncomfortable. Just remember that discomfort is a key part of growth. Six months or a year into your new career will feel different than the same amount of time in a job in your previous field. Keep that learning hat on, and don’t get frustrated - you’re still making progress; you just have further to go.
Take Advantage of Opportunities
One of the best ways to excel in a new field is to continuously look for opportunities to learn. Ask to sit in on meetings for other teams and projects, schedule 1:1s with people across departments, attend workshops, and dig through the company’s files to learn about what’s been done in the past. Don’t wait to be invited - be proactive and ask to join if you see a meeting you think you’d benefit from!
Don’t Get Overwhelmed - Just Prioritize
Given that there’s more to learn when you switch careers, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. I found that taking a strategic approach helped things feel more manageable. When I first started, I made a list of the new terms I heard and set aside time each day to research the most mentioned ones. I also prioritized scheduling 1:1s with colleagues I’d already established a level of rapport with, which built my confidence and my comfort. A few months later, I began branching out and proactively looking for terms I still didn’t know. I read articles, asked deeper questions, and sat in on meetings for other departments to see if I could follow their conversations. I also began to schedule 1:1s with those with whom I hadn’t yet connected or who were on the teams I knew the least about. This prioritized approach not only helped expand my knowledge and my network but did so in a way that built my confidence.
Ask for feedback, OFTEN.
This is a new field. It’s probably going to be harder to gauge how well you’re doing, so don’t be afraid to ask. When you implement some of your newly gained knowledge, ask if you used it correctly or if there are ways you could improve. Be specific about what kind of feedback you’re looking for. You’ll often find this leads to positive reinforcement and even some ideas on how to take it to the next level.
While it may take longer to master your new job, changing careers can be a great decision (it has been for me!). Nine months into my new job as a Digital Strategist, I’m still not an expert, but I am excited every day by how much I’ve grown and how much more I still can learn.