Why a Big Career Change-up Could Be Your Key to Success

By Katie Klumper, CEO & Founder, Black Glass

One in three workers are looking at changing careers right now…not companies, not jobs, but their entire career.

It might sound extreme but industry hopping is becoming an increasingly common move to gain new experiences while differentiating yourself with transferable skills and a fresh eye to a new vertical. (Heads up hiring managers! Here’s your chance to recharge your companies by thinking outside the silo.)

This trend is particularly prevalent amongst marketers, whose expertise and experience are more broadly applicable across different industries.

The US Tennis Association placed a big bet on the reenergizing power of the outsider when it recruited retail industry veteran Amy Choyne to be its Chief Marketing Officer.

Following a nearly seven-year tenure at USTA, Choyne offers this advice for other CMOs hoping to power their careers to the next level.

Get creative when connecting the dots from previous experiences

Loyalty and tenure used to be the way to get ahead, but now recruiters are open to hiring fresh faces from outside their industries who can bring new perspectives. Especially in the current job market where talent is at a premium.

Consider how you can draw a line from previous experiences to new opportunities. Choyne, for example, honed high fashion expertise at Armani, a one-brand shop, before moving to Limited – a multi-brand consumer empire and home to the famed Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. She brought her experience with strong, singular brand identities and large-scale event marketing to elevate the USTA and its storied US Open.

Embrace continuous learning

Mastering performance marketing happens on-the-job, with hands-on training. Building your personal network to create new partnerships and connections is one of the most valuable things you can do to advance your career. And the pace of marketing is moving so fast in data and CRM, keeping one hand on that channel at all times keeps your knowledge futureproof.

Across her career, spanning Barneys New York, Anthropologie and more, Choyne amassed a diverse skill set that included launching authentic brand partnerships, broad-based media planning, A/B testing, data and CRM chops, plus cultivating relationships with luxury customers.

It’s never too late – or too early – to make a change

Junior marketers are well-positioned to take chances to boost their careers. Moving between

industries early can lead to quicker advancement and grow your paycheck faster than staying put. But veterans can make the leap too, Choyne’s career path proves. Even if you’ve been in one industry for 20 years, there’s transferable knowledge you can leverage to deliver any business objectives.

Networking outside your industry and following marketing trends and developments across different verticals will set you up to spot and secure new opportunities.

“Your target audience might change. Your product might change,” says Choyne. “But the principles behind marketing and how to build a brand, a human connection with customers,  remain the same.”

Let your personal passions be your guide to your new opportunities

Switching industries can lead to more fulfilling work.

Choyne was drawn to the USTA, viewing it as a health and wellness brand that aligned with her passion for fitness. She also appreciated the way the organization contributed to the community in positive and productive ways by engaging youth from underserved communities –  a vastly different mission than her previous retail brands.

“It fulfilled a need for me to be personally engaged in a brand that helps people’s quality of lives,” she says.  “I am, you know, contributing more than selling buttons.”

Here’s the bottom line: Marketers looking to advance their careers should consider doing a zig zag. instead of just moving up, try moving to a new industry. Sure, there are risks involved in going outside the home turf, but the rewards can be great.