- Do you feel stuck in a job that isn’t the least bit fulfilling?
- Are you questioning if you’ll ever be able to work a role that complements your innate skill set? For example: Are you working behind screens all day knowing full well you would excel (no pun intended) in front of clients?
- Have you thought about leaving your job but then pulled back when you concluded it was going to be the same story somewhere else so why even bother?
- Have you considered making a leap but held yourself back to maintain security (You know how to do your job pretty well and it pays you just enough, so why now?)
- Have you dreamt about leaving your industry altogether, applied to the black hole of available roles on job sites, leaving your chances to fate and then conclude it wasn’t meant to be when you got no responses?
- Have you looked at your resume and thought, “I’ve been a (lawyer, accountant, banker) my whole career, why would anyone hire me to chase a dream elsewhere?
I can say that I’ve lived through all of these questions and if they resonate with you, I urge you to read on! I’m going to share with you how I navigated across sectors and industries, escaping the ever-looming Pigeon Hole.
To give you some context on my professional background (more importantly, to add some credibility to my knowledge on the subject), I graduated college UNEMPLOYED with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting right in the heart of the Financial crisis in 2009. I hadn’t an inkling of interest in public accounting but for anyone on the job hunt during that era, you know that it was a time where you were likely to take any opportunity you can get. And from there, here is a quick sketch of my journey:
- 1 Year as a Recruiter for Public Accounting Firms
- 1 Year as a Public Accountant servicing Not for Profit entities (simultaneously started my MBA)
- 2 Years working in Sales & Trading Middle Office at JP Morgan Investment Bank
- 5 Years working in Sales Front Office at JP Morgan Asset Management
- 3 Years working as a Account Executive at Salesforce
During the latter 4 years of that timeline, I wrote, published, and recorded Break Barriers. Once published, I devoted time to building out the Break Barriers platform to take on a life beyond the bookshelf. Fun Fact: In case you thought I had any experience writing, I actually Googled “How to Write a Book” as I was checking out of my final months in banking.
To Level with you, I don’t think I have an extraordinary skill set, and perhaps on another piece I will dive further into how we all have what it takes to juggle our dreams with our jobs BUT for now, I want to focus on how along the way I could have been labeled a Recruiter, Accountant, Middle Office Associate, a Banker, and even now a SAAS (software as a service) Account Executive but
INSTEAD I focused on changing the narrative along the way so that the conversation wouldn’t be about the bullet points on my resume but rather the total package. Throughout my journey, I was adamant in presenting myself as Bishoy Tadros the individual, not as a recruiter, an accountant, or a banker.
Now that you have insight into my background, I want to share The THREE things you need to know to make it happen for yourself!
- Money is like a Crush; Don’t Chase it and Let it Come to You!
Chasing the dollar is a tale as old as time but don’t be fooled! That 20 percent raise from a competitor or another department to do the same thing you’re doing now is only a temporary high. Fulfillment is derived out of purpose and purpose is revealed when you exit your comfort zone. Taking a leap in your career can seem intimidating and rightfully so however I would encourage you to put your fears into perspective. Are you more afraid of failing at an industry job transition because you’re unsure of your worth OR are you afraid of settling knowing you are perhaps capable of more. Both are scary but I know where I stand — settling just isn’t an option
In my career journey sketched above, I made it a point to channel my energy toward my desired destination as opposed to focusing strictly on my W-2. As a result, the wealth naturally accumulated over time and even though at the surface there were definitely opportunities where my income could have decreased, I began to realize that when your work is more meaningful to your purpose that your income will naturally flourish in tandem with your output.
Living in New York City for the last 11 years, I am well aware of the financial constraints associated with an underpaying job however I can also attest that a slightly better paying job is only a bandaid. Instead of looking for temporary healing, keep an open mind to the opportunities that unfold when your work brings you meaning.
If you thought the rejection of a childhood crush was tough, I’ll warn you that the dollar is even more ruthless. If you give employers the permission to determine your value, they will take you up on that offer and ten out of ten times they will undervalue you and thus the onus is on you to focus less on the valuation and more on manifesting purpose in your career. Tangibly speaking, focus on the things that make you a better individual holistically so that your best self is the version that shows up to an interview when the time comes, not the self who is just looking for a raise.
2. Whose Story Is it Anyway? What the Employer is hearing may not be what you are saying.
Last week, I was watching the Netflix series You and in one of the episodes during the final season, two of the main characters who were married took on couple’s therapy. In the midst of the plot-twisting issues they had to address with their therapist, it was highly evident that there was a gap in communication and it was certainly having an impact on the foundation of their bond. One of the exercises assigned by the therapist instructed them to use the phrase “What I heard you say is…’’ whenever one of the partners would say something that triggered the other partner. (For instance if someone were to tell their partner that they shouldn’t eat a whole pizza pie in one sitting and instead of understanding that advice as positive nutritional guidance, the subject partner may perhaps HEAR it as an insult of their weight.)
Although my guess is that the writers of the show never thought that I would be taking cues from that scene for an article about professionally navigating across industries, the truth of the matter is that on many occasions we have similar communication gaps with prospective employers. Your prospective employer at times may need even MORE thoroughness when it comes to communication than your partner (I hope my wife isn’t reading this!). An employer may see the resume you submitted and they may label you as exactly what those bullet points read. But you and I know that we are all more than one piece of paper with finessed phrases in a small font. The question is, are you doing what you can with that one piece of paper to communicate that to them or are you presuming that your black and white bullet points are for some reason more intriguing than anyone else on that pile?
When I made the decision that I was going to actively leave the banking world I started firing out resumes left and right and to my dismay after hundreds of applications were submitted, there wasn’t a peep out of any of the employers. I was left out in the cold looking for someone to blame.
It hit me that maybe I needed to do something different, I was breeding insanity presuming that the same formula might generate a new result. I proceeded to go on a community board and solicit guidance from an amateur resume builder. I knew that I had really good qualifications on paper but maybe I wasn’t communicating them in a way that the employers would respond. I told the resume builder that maybe I just needed color on the resume to stand out and so she helped me format two versions, one was yellow and one was green. To this day, I can’t get over the fact that I didn’t change one single bullet point around my skill set but I just simply added color and voila, the responses were pouring in from those very same companies who ghosted me prior.
Apparently it wasn’t what I said but how I said it
3. Give Them Something to Talk About! Think Value over Accolade
I’ll let you in on a secret. You won’t be the first nor the last candidate on a hiring manager’s desk that has won awards, been promoted, or hit quotas. Nope, I don’t care how prestigious your Club designation was or how you moved from Associate to Director in record company time. One thing has been consistent across the board regardless of profession or industry. In the digitized world we live in now, the focus is shifting toward “What have you done for me lately and what will you do for me today?” vs “What have you done previously to earn a spot on my roster?”When you as a candidate shift your focus from listing your professional accolades and instead drive a dialogue around your differentiators as an individual contributor beyond the confines of an office, your prospective employer can open up to the idea of a non-traditional industry hire.
For example, when I was transitioning from banking to SAAS sales, I made it a point to put my personal website on the top of my resume. I bolded it, highlighted it, underlined it. At the time, my book wasn’t published but I wanted the hiring manager to see that I was doing something DIFFERENT. My resume got me in the door, but the website and a “passion project” at the time was the conversation that likely got me the offer. I had all the accolades on paper but they were barely discussed during the interview. I did that on purpose, because as I mentioned earlier, I wanted to own the narrative. I didn’t want the conversation to be about quotas and selling techniques, I wanted the conversation to be about how Bishoy Tadros the person can bring a different perspective and leverage that to drive thought provoking ideas to challenge his teammates and leadership to help breed an environment geared for success. I wanted the conversation to be about the narrative that I knew I could control. I wasn’t hired for previous achievements, I was hired for the potential impact I could bring today and tomorrow.
We are trending in a direction where traditional education is carrying slightly less weight in the corporate arena. I’ve heard hiring managers time and again say they stopped looking at the schools their candidates went to in order to flush out bias. Some companies and industries are moving faster than others when it comes to hiring trends like this and thus the increased level of diversity when it comes to schooling and professional experience. As a result, the door is opening for dialogue around value over accolade. Get creative, pursue your passion, tell employers about it and be shameless in seeking out the employer that will bring you in as the whole person that you are!
To successfully transition industries, your value will transcend other factors because it will highlight the potential for immediate and future impact.