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From Advertising to Tech Sales: A Career Shift in the Name of Passion

By Larissa Weinstein

Searching for a New Beginning

When Ryan came to us at LaunchSource, he was not the typical profile of a recent grad ready to land his first real job and launch his career. In fact, he had already risen to the top of his career in advertising.

In the early years of his advertising career, he had a couple of projects for tech companies including Ubuntu and PS4. He had a very creative role and he was fascinated by tech. As he advanced in his career, his projects shifted more toward clients in other industries but he still found himself drawn to reading about and learning about tech companies.

He felt his passion for his then-job starting to wane, so he traveled around the country trying to rediscover fulfillment in his career. He even moved to Burlington, Vermont to spend time in nature as part of his search, and when that didn’t work he returned to his hometown for a couple months to think and forge a new path.

He slowly realized that where he really wanted to be was on the ground floor of a tech company, even if that meant starting over in an entry-level role. Tech is a growing industry with boundless opportunities, and he had a natural curiosity and desire to learn more.

His strengths at work were his pitching and presentation skills, and he was intrigued by the merit-based incentive pay that comes with a career in sales. He also knew that to make a career switch at this later stage in his career would require him to be sure of his passion and really go all in.

Moving to Boston

His choice came down to San Francisco or Boston, and Boston won as the East Coast tech hub with tons of educational opportunities should another degree become a consideration one day. He moved to Boston and started reading up on companies and industry news via resources like TechCrunch.

He made it to many final round interviews but kept losing the job to candidates who fit the recent grad profile. Then he applied to LaunchSource, and we were able to coach him and advocate for him.

We had him come in for an Interview Day and presented him directly to the hiring managers from a client company that had recently been acquired by a larger software company. He knocked the interview out of the park and was advanced to the final round.

This time, he got the job.

The First Month, and Beyond

Ryan started at the beginning of June, about a month before I talked to him for this article. He’s on a five person team that still very much has a startup feel to it despite being part of a larger company.

The team has been supportive and helpful, and understanding of the fact that he came in as a blank slate in the world of tech sales. There’s a strong emphasis on education, training, and learning- and not just in the first month. Later this summer they’re sending him to a week-long off-site training on sales methodology.

Everyone he’s met has been friendly and quick to answer questions when they find out he’s new. On the morning Ryan and I chatted, he was heading out to a company outing that would allow different departments to spend time together and get to know each other across functional boundaries.

And of course, it all comes full circle with LaunchSource: a “copilot” on his team is a fellow LaunchSource alum who started before him and has been promoted to a team lead.

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