Get the Job Before you Get the Job: How to transition from one role to another

This blog was originally written for a guest appearance on the Momscancode March blog. Moms Can: Code is a membership-based community that provides moms learning to code with opportunities to connect and the resources they need to be successful. Check them out and join as a mentor or someone looking to grow your career!

Getting a new role can be daunting. How do you break into a new organization? What steps should you take to build credibility? Where do you start? The key is preparation, persistence, and confidence. Here are some tips to help you land that new role.

Start from the inside. When looking to make a move from one role to the next, a great place to start is your current company. Making a big leap is easier with a support system of sponsors and mentors in place, a well-known reputation established, and access to executives and opportunities. Real-life example: I started at Veeam Software in Channel Marketing and became known for being hard working, capable, and team-oriented. After three years, I was approached to move to a new team within the company although I did not have direct experience.

Build your sphere of influence. It is crucial to have a support system both inside and outside your current organization. Prior to applying for a new role, tap your circle to recommend you to the hiring manager, offer insight into a new company or team, give you tips on getting your foot in the door with a new manager, reach out to other managers or executives on your behalf who have influence over the role, and advise you on the best next steps to secure the interview and eventually, the job. Real-life tip: an executive told me recently that when he receives a candidate’s application, it should be preceded by or quickly followed by at least 10 emails from trusted contacts telling him to hire that person.

Preemptively arrange support. First, leverage your sphere of influence. Next, schedule meetings with the hiring manager and leaders on the new team you’re looking to move to before applying for the role or formally interviewing. This is easiest done if you’re moving from one role to the next at the same company (follow all HR rules, of course!), but not impossible outside your current organization. Real-life example: a former marketing manager on my team wanted to move to the systems engineering team. She was successful due to a variety of reasons (capability, support system, drive, and planning). Before taking her technical certifications, she spoke to her manager (me) who provided support, guidance and was prepared to go to bat for her when the engineering manager pinged me. Then she set up meetings with the hiring manager and various people on the team to get an understanding of exactly what was expected from a new engineer and to gain their support. The hiring manager agreed to let her sit in on demos, shadow engineers on his team, and even run practice white boarding sessions to prepare for the certification process. By the time she took the test and formally applied for the role, it was nearly in the bag.

Become an athlete. Make it a no-brainer to hire you. Start saying yes to projects that make you uncomfortable, things that scare you. Start raising your hand for new opportunities. This sets the stage for you to demonstrate your ability to jump into a brand-new role. Real-life tip: start small by offering to own pieces of a project that are not in your wheel house. If you’ve been attending trainings or going to school, showcase your recent learnings to your manager, your sponsor, your mentor, and other leaders who could help evangelize your new skills.

Own your career. Know that nothing will be handed to you. Drive your own destiny by making purposeful choices. Take the risk. Get over that imposter syndrome or that feeling that you’re not worthy and just do it already. Real-life example: My badass boss gave me this advice. She’s a VP of a brand-new team at Veeam and was appointed by the CEO. I’m following her lead, and so should you.


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