How to Change Careers + How I Changed My Job With No Professional Experience

Okay I’m pretty sure this isn’t news to ya’ll since I’ve been basically screaming it all over social media butttt…

I got a new job!

I had been working as a merchandiser (similar to a fashion buyer) for four years. There were tons of things I really enjoyed about my job. I loved driving a team and working with product. I also had the best boss ever. But for years I knew I wanted to move into some form of marketing or social media.

This was a huge career shift! It was scary and bittersweet and exciting all at the same time. It still is.

But I got to thinking – I can’t possibly have been the only human who ever wanted to switch careers. A lot of people are probably too comfortable, too scared, or are worried they don’t have any relevant experience in a new field.

And I felt all these things.

So here I am, ready to dish on my experience in hopes it can help someone else!

I like to keep it real around these parts of town.

How to change careers!

How to change careers!

How to change careers!

Do some soul searching.

So you’ve done the hard part: you’ve looked yourself in the mirror and admitted you don’t love what you currently do for a living.

And honestly, that’s the hardest part.

It’s super easy to get into a routine. It’s super easy to feel comfortable. It’s actually really hard to admit you need a change.

I graduated from college with a B.S. in Apparel Design & Merchandising with an emphasis in Merchandising. Immediately after graduation I jumped straight into a merchandise coordinator role at a corporate apparel company. This is it, I told myself. This is the dream.

Four years later and I realized merchandising in school wasn’t the same as being a merchandiser in real life. In school I was able to be creative, flex my design muscles, and feel free. In my corporate life – while there was a lot I loved – I didn’t have the same sense of creativity or control. I always felt like something was missing.

So one weekend I started a free WordPress account. I always loved writing, photography, web design, and fashion. It hit me that starting my own website might be the perfect way to combine all of the things that I loved.

So during lunch it hit me. I’m going to start a blog. I’m blonde. and I freaking love bagels. So let’s do this.

Not every soul searching story involves an Eat, Pray, Love style come to Jesus kind of moment. Mine sure didn’t. Sometimes it’s as simple as acknowledging the hobbies you love and thinking through how to combine them.

Do your research.

I’m very type A so I’m all about that list making life. My biggest piece of advice is to jot down a list of things you do and don’t love to do. I also personally made a list of things I was really good at and things I had opportunities to improve in. From these lists it’s time to do a little brainstorming and a lot of research.

By understanding your wants and needs from a job – along with your skill set – it becomes measurably easier to narrow down your future job search. Do you love design, but also love technology? Maybe you want to be a graphic designer. Are you passionate about animals, but need flexible hours? Maybe you want to be a dog sitter (don’t hate – no joke dog sitters & walkers make serious cash!).

Take your time thinking through things you’d love to do and do your research to make sure the new career would be the right fit.

How to change careers!

How to change careers!

Create opportunities for yourself.

No experience? No problem.

But really. Life isn’t always black and white and jobs unfortunately aren’t handed out on silver platters. Especially not when there’s a thousand other applicants out there fighting for the same opportunities.

To make yourself stand out from the crowd you have to create your own experiences and opportunities.

After about six months of running my blog I knew I wanted to eventually change my career from merchandising to something more directly relating to my love for social media. But I had zero actual experience. So I created my own resumé building opportunities.

Plain and simple – my blog helped me get a new job.

I worked on my blog every single night, building up a bank of posts. I started to partner with brands to show I understand the inner workings of influencer and content marketing. I turned my blog into a proof of concept, showing potential employers that I could manage and grow social media accounts and develop a brand.

I also said “yes” to every single opportunity. Last Fall I saw an email come through my inbox with the words “Pinterest,” “contract work,” and “part time” in the description. Did I spend hours I didn’t have working with Pinterest? Probably. Did I make great pay? Absolutely not.

But holy shit did that look good on my resumé.

Remember Rome wasn’t build in a day.

Just to be clear – I’m not word vomiting all this out as a way to brag. I definitely don’t think I’m special or exceptional.

I think I was desperate. I was so desperate to do something I loved that I worked and fought to make it happen.

But remember that Rome wasn’t build in a day.

Developing new skills takes a crazy amount of time. Finding the right job takes a crazy amount of time. And time is also crazy valuable which often means you have to make sacrifices.

There were plenty of times I passed on dinners out with friends to blog – I’m not sure they always understood why. That’s when you just have to stay focused and know you’re working for something for you.

How to change careers!

How to change careers!

Never ever give up.

On that whole “Rome wasn’t built in a day” note – do everything except give up.

Changing careers may not happen overnight, but it will happen. Seriously. If you’re doing all the right research, opening yourself up to every opportunity, and working your ass off – good shit will happen.

How to change careers!

But before I go for the day let’s pause for the cause and talk about two awesome things: this dress & these photos.

This awesome high low dress is only $25. I’m seriously so proud of this thrifty little summer find.

I’m also super obsessed with the level of genius my photographer, Hamee Ha, exhibited for this shoot. We shot these maybe an hour or so before sunset and she nailed the framing of the light perfectly. I SEE YOU, HAMEE, I SEE YOU.

Have you ever thought about changing up your career? Tell me about your life in the comments below!

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7 responses to “How to Change Careers + How I Changed My Job With No Professional Experience”

  1. Kristina says:

    This post is amazing! I just changed my career into a more digital direction and I’m really happy, too 🙂

    • Blondes & Bagels says:

      Thanks Kristina! I’m SO GLAD to hear you just made a switch too and are loving it! Good for you, girl!

      xoxo Kelsey

  2. Claudia Wood says:

    The photos are gorgeous! Changing careers is super hard. I left marketing to move into planning in Local Government, which has made me realise that I want to move back into writing and editing. I also shut down my blog because heaps of it was old and wasn’t right for me anymore so I’m starting fresh and this post was super motivational!

    • Blondes & Bagels says:

      I can’t wait to see your new site once you have it up, Claudia! Make sure to send me a link 🙂

      xoxo Kelsey

  3. Jamie says:

    Binge reading your posts currently ? I absolutely love this! I think blogging is such a great resume builder!

    My degree is in PR & business so it is directed towards blogging but I got my current job because they checked out my blog and saw I actually was implementing what I learned in school!

    Congrats on switching your career and making that leap!

    • Blondes & Bagels says:

      lol omg Jamie you’re hilarious. Seriously we have the same experience! It was because my blog showed my experience and execution that I got the job! Thanks for leaving some love!

      xoxo Kelsey

  4. Courtney says:

    Great post Kelsey! I think about this topic a lot and wonder what it would take to turn my dreams into a reality full time so this is super handy to hear your advice on how you did it! Props to you for just taking the leap! Never quit your day dream!!