Transition Tales – Erin Payton

Achieving Goals, Career Discovery, Career Enrichment, Transition Tales
10/29/18 - Nicole Wood

Erin had a career in Hollywood for many years, and in 2011 she decided to leave it behind to pursue something new. She wasn’t really sure what she wanted to do, but she moved to Chicago in 2012 and started working for a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) who needed help marketing his business. Even though she hadn’t had any prior experience in marketing, Erin helped him successfully grow his business using various marketing strategies that she intuitively implemented.

She continued on with her career following the role with the CFP and became an administrative assistant at a law firm. It was a well-paying job, but she had enjoyed the marketing work she had done and could see herself making that her long-term career path. She wanted to learn more about the field of marketing from an academic perspective. Erin was intrigued by Northwestern University’s Master’s in Integrated Marketing Communications and decided to apply. She got in! She was on her way to an exciting new career path, but she had to navigate some tricky situations back at work.

ALV: Was there anyone at your organization you spoke to before deciding to go back to school?

Erin: “I kept it a secret from my bosses for the first six months I was in grad school (I attended class at night twice a week), because I didn’t want them to think it was affecting my job performance. Also, once they found out that I was in school, they would be made aware that staying at that company in my role was not in my long term plans.”

ALV: What were the most important things you were looking for in a new company?

Erin: “I wanted to work for a company that made a real commitment to its employees to invest in them and help them grow. My current company has won various awards for being one of the world’s most ethical companies, one of the best companies for LGBT equality and one of the top companies for working mothers. These values were very much in alignment with my own.”


Erin was in the throes of the job search process for months, having gone on about 12 different interviews. She wanted to be sure she found the position that was going to be the right fit and a great strategic step in her career. During this time, Erin turned to ALV for support with her career transition, and she worked with Coach Teague Simoncic through the “Get That Job” program.

ALV: What made you decide to work with ALV to help you achieve your career transition goals?

Erin: “I was frustrated that I had been going on interviews, but not receiving any offers. I felt I was doing all the necessary things to get another job, but nothing was clicking.”

ALV: What were some of the benefits of working with your ALV coach?

Erin: “Between working with Teague and going through the modules, the “Get That Job” program really helped me think through the job search process in a way that I wasn’t necessarily able to do on my own. I enjoyed the assistance on my resume and the tools to jazz up my LinkedIn profile (funnily enough, I discovered my current role via a LinkedIn job posting!), as well as the weekly check-ins with Teague.”


The hardest part of Erin’s career transition was getting prospective employers to see that while she didn’t have very much experience in marketing, her education had properly prepared her to transition into a marketing role. She found that it was important to tell her story effectively about the reason why she wanted to transition her careers and to be patient. Erin knew that she really wanted a career in marketing and she believed that persistence would eventually get her to where she wanted to be.

Erin has successfully transitioned her career from an administrative assistant to a Senior Associate of Integrated Marketing Communications at a large commercial real estate firm. She applied for her current role after seeing a job posting for it on LinkedIn. It took around 6 months from when Erin started the job search process until she received her offer.

ALV: Do you have any advice for other people looking to transition their careers?

Erin: “I think it’s important to note that it’s not easy making a career transition. I think as business professionals, we all want to appear that we’re confident and we have it all figured out, but it is challenging!

I think talking to other people about these challenges is the best way to work through them. There’s no need to be ashamed or embarrassed because we’ve all been there!”


We could not be more excited for Erin as she continues to establish herself as a skilled marketing professional. She put in a lot of hard work to land her dream job, and we know this is just the beginning of her success story!

If you’ve been considering making a career transition and want to work with Coach Teague like Erin did, you can book a free introductory consultation with her here!


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