For over 16 years I have marketed, analyzed and sold products from hair dye to toilet paper, tampons to pharmaceuticals. How about that for a portfolio of products? I have called on companies ranging from small independent grocery stores to Minnesota’s beloved Target. You name it, and I have a story about it. It’s been an amazing and wild ride in world of Consumer Packaged Goods and I wouldn’t change a thing. So why change careers – especially from CPG to recruiting? And how does a move to recruiting align with my experience?
I reached a point in my career where I had to stop and ask myself, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” The next logical question was, “Do I really have to grow up?” After deciding the answer was a reluctant “yes,” I sat down to map out the three most important elements in choosing a new career path. Even if you are well-established, asking these questions can help to determine if you’re in the perfect career for you.
- What do I love? Why work day in and day out for something you don’t even want to be doing? Think about what you’re passionate about and find a way to make it your job.
- What am I good at? Throw modesty to the wind and determine where your skills lie. Be honest with yourself. Once you find out what you’re good at and start doing it, you’ll be shocked how much happier you’ll be.
- Who can I help? I need a community. I’ve never been interested in a solitary career with little to no human interaction. Once I understood that, I saw opportunities open all around me.
After pinning down my answers to the questions above, I searched my network and geared up for some major career changes. This is what I found out:
- Sales: I loved sales and the feeling of “my desk” when I was a National Account Manager.
- Discovering the Story: I also loved Shopper Marketing and the process of intersecting the retailers and my brand’s equity. As a Category Manager, I loved looking at numbers and trying to decide what that “story” was, how was I going to turn the “so what” into the “now what?”
- Coaching: I enjoyed leading and working with others to determine their strengths and map out a path to their own career niche.
When I explained all this to a good friend of mine, we got caught up in talking about the ideal career for me. My initial thoughts were along the lines of, “WOW, he’s good. If only that job existed.” He then expressed interest in talking with me about leading a CPG division at Versique. At first, I’ll admit, I hesitated. After getting this close to a major career shift, maybe it wasn’t the right thing to do after all. But something in me knew I should at least listen.
I could see the alignment between this new position and my love for the CPG industry. I would have a point of differentiation, an ownership over my own destiny, and the ability to connect people with companies, just by being open to something new. All that while finding my ideal niche as well.
Remember that good friend I talked with about making this change? He’s now my boss. And I couldn’t be happier. If you’re feeling the way I was before my career change, maybe it’s time you ask yourself what you want to be when you grow up. You might have a certain position in mind, or a dream company. Or perhaps you just need to talk through your experience and reach out for some guidance on your next steps. I’ve finally found what I want to be when I grow up: a partner to others searching for their own niche.
If you have a career change story, or you’d like to make a change, but don’t know how. Let me know in the comments below!
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