- A recent Fast Company poll shows 52% of U.S. employees are considering making a career change this year.
- According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2020, workers aged 35-44 had been with their current employer for 4.9 years, while workers aged 45-54 averaged 7.5 years
In May 2022, Director of Application Security and Customer Trust Kelly Malone led a workshop at the Women of Silicon Valley Conference on navigating a career pivot using transferable skills. The workshop was for women interested in creating a new career path, the mentors and sponsors of those looking for a career change, or those rejoining the workforce after a career break. There was lively discussion throughout the workshop, encompassing over 40 participants spanning various industries. We recently interviewed Kelly to hear her personal story and get some advice on making successful career transitions.
Build that network
While Kelly’s career began in chemistry, her first pivot was into microelectronics where she earned multiple patents. When she noticed that the microelectronics industry was slowing, she decided to pivot to security. Reaching out to a colleague was key. Her colleague helped her pinpoint the skills she could highlight and transfer to the security field. “This is why it’s good to have a network.” She wound up in a program for women in technical positions who were looking to transition to new roles within her company. Kelly recommends finding a mentor as part of your network. While change isn’t always easy, networking can help point you to new opportunities – family members, friends, or professional websites like LinkedIn are a great place to start.
Transferable skills are the way to go
“Every move I’ve made, I’ve prepared myself for. Prepare yourself with transferable skills. Building additional skills will help you become a subject matter expert.” Kelly took courses in Security Architecture and attended a bootcamp as a bridge to deepen her understanding of the new field she was pursuing. This led her to a project in Dubai with a major power company and several others that followed as she became an expert in her new field of critical infrastructure security. What followed was a surprise. Another industry colleague tapped Kelly to head up a penetration testing program based on her manufacturing methodology expertise in microelectronics. Transferable skills are empowering because they build competency and lead to future projects.
Make experience count
Having a plan helped Kelly’s career and it can help yours. She built a network, focused on transferable skills, then leveraged her experience. Leveraging her microelectronics background, Kelly pioneered and implemented a data breach testing program that eventually led her to RingCentral. “That is what I’m doing now, running RingCentral’s penetration testing program. Those skills that I developed, that network that I had developed, it all led to where I am right now.” There is no magic and there was lots of rejection along the way, but Kelly wants you to know that if you continue to grow professionally, there will come a time when your specific set of skills matches what a company needs. Leveraging past experience while utilizing your network and transferable skills is a plan that will result in greater achievements.
Tighten your pivot radius
RingCentral is a great workplace to make a pivot. Check out our Careers page to see if that pivot you’ve been considering is closer than you think! Want to build your network first? See if your company has Employee Resource Groups (ERG) – internal groups within companies run by employees themselves. They’re a great way to facilitate mentorships, networking, and skill-building. If you haven’t joined one yet, look for one in your field or in a field you’re considering for the future. ERGs foster a friendly environment for seeking and sharing advice, career inspiration, and learning about career opportunities here at RingCentral.
Originally published Jul 05, 2022