How do you know if your career is headed in the right direction? Ask (and listen to) yourself! Stephanie Loviglio realized that whenever people asked her what she did, she ended up spending all her time talking about what she wanted to do instead.
Realizing that you want to change your path is simple—but it’s not always easy. After you’ve identified what you don’t like, you’ll need to spend some serious time thinking about what you do like. Just deciding on a new field alone isn’t enough—it’s important to spend time researching the differences between positions and companies in your new industry.
Not sure how to do all that? We caught up with Stephanie to find out how she discovered a career that she really cared about—and which steps she took to make it a reality.
What was your college and major?
I majored in Hospitality Management and Industrial/Organizational Psychology, with a minor in Art at Marywood University.
What career path did you begin following after college?
My primary goal in my career path was to give me more exposure to hotels. I landed in Sales & Marketing at a local hotel and was excited to venture into professional learning.
What were some things you enjoyed about that job? What were some challenges you faced in that path?
I enjoyed working in a hotel environment. It felt like home because of the certainty that everyone was just a door away; basically the concept of being open 24/7. I was comfortable because I knew this industry the best.
Challenges I faced were that I had an overwhelming workload and became entirely stressed. I wasn’t getting the support I needed. Teamwork wasn’t displayed and it’s essential to work together with others for the success of the company and the individual.
I also realized that the idea of just telling people where I was at the moment was leaving me breathless trying to explain what I wanted in life and seeking advice on how to get there.
When did you decide that you wanted to make a change? How did you decide to switch to the field of HR?
I always enjoyed writing and with writing came along tweaking my résumé every chance I got. I realized I would get super excited about developing and proofreading cover letters.
Being an intuitive person, I knew that I wanted to be part of a team and have the role of hiring someone in my hands. The important discussions that take place within the HR department have a great impact on the organization, and I knew I was up for the challenge because I was enthusiastic about it.
What were some steps you took to switch career paths?
I made sure I scheduled informational phone calls with anyone I knew (or was somehow connected to) who worked in the Human Resources/Recruiting field. I made everyone well aware that I was in a transitional period and was seeking any advice they could give.
I went as far as getting my HR Certification (SHRM Essentials of Human Resource Management Certificate from New York Institute of Technology), in hopes that I would learn more as I attempted to jump into this field.
After discovering AfterCollege and other related sites, I was even more determined to meet my goals. I was searching endlessly for jobs relating to HR, but there was something missing in my approach to finding a job.
So I paired up with my sister (a successful entrepreneur) to freshen up my networking skills and I began to realize that I needed to do more than just apply to jobs online. I needed to research companies and understand if they had the type of culture I was looking for.
Month after month I organized informational calls, wrote lists of things I wanted out of HR, and things I hoped to learn. I made lists comparing the pros and cons of a certain position to another within HR based on my research. I did my homework and that is the most important lesson I can give. You just take it one day at a time, learn what you are searching for, and you’ll always find the answers.
What is your current position like?
It is really interesting learning about all of the benefit plans. Healthcare is such an important aspect of our lives and being able to understand option plans and what they entail has been an awakening learning process.
Payroll, also part of my position, has given me an opportunity to be able to comprehend the fundamentals.
Human Resources is such an essential department in a company and I like the idea that I am “behind the scenes” making it possible for employees to do their job. Everyone needs to have a support system and I like being people’s “backbone.” Soon, I hope to fall into more direct contact with meeting potential candidates first-hand. After that, I can see myself learning HR laws and perhaps being an HR Generalist or an HR Analyst.
How do you feel about your decision to make this change?
I am so happy I have found the courage to follow my heart into the field I know I will excel in. This is just the beginning.
What advice would you give to college students who might want to pursue a career that’s unrelated to their major?
The key to transitioning into a field you may not have a background in is to really find out what that field is all about. Do research, set up informational phone calls, be a sponge when absorbing information, and most importantly, trust your gut.
When you are discussing or thinking about a career, do you feel like you light up and like your personality would be what that field needs? Learn the details of the field and what positions are available within that field. Never be afraid to explore and learn.
Homework time! Are you just getting started in your job search? If you’re just looking for some ideas of possible career paths, check out the Explore feature on AfterCollege and see if any of the suggested jobs spark your interest.
If you already have an idea of your desired field or position, follow some of the steps that Stephanie outlined. Research and make lists about different positions, try to set up informational interviews with people already in the field, and define what’s most important to you about potential jobs and companies.