Like many people, there have been several stepping stones in the path my career took to get me where I am today. I joined the talent acquisition team at DENSO nine years ago with a goal to someday land in a sales position. During that time, I recruited for the resident engineer position within the electronic components team a handful of times. Then one day when there was another opening, I was asked if I’d be interested in the opportunity. Though I had zero engineering experience, I knew this would be an incredible opportunity as I worked my way toward a sales position.
But this was a BIG change, so I had a lot of conversations with my current manager and mentor as well as external contacts I respected. In the end, I realized that not many people get HR and engineering experience on their way to sales, so I worked with my current and future managers to develop a transitional plan. I believe having that plan, one that everyone assisted in developing and thought was fair, was a key to my success. Another success factor was communication – I can’t stress how much ongoing communication, maybe even overcommunicating, helped ease my stress and anxiety.
Then, after three years as a resident engineer on the GM account, one of my directors asked what my next step was because he knew of a sales opportunity. I liked my job, but being in sales was my goal, and I don’t have an engineering degree, so there were limitations on how far I could go in that area. However, while the sales position was with my current customer, GM, it was in Thermal Engineering, a new product area for me. So once again, I was faced with a challenging decision. I had a lot of conversations with people to know exactly what I had to do to leave one position and start another. Being the competitive person I am, I saw the opportunity as a positive challenge, something that would show I could improvise and overcome obstacles that may seem like a roadblock or boulder in my career path.
During both transitions, I not only received support from managers, but the folks in HR training did a great job in ensuring I got the necessary training needed for each new job. I went through a lot of training.
I’m not sure I’d be in my current position if I didn’t take those big steps. So, my advice to anyone who’s had even just one thought about pursuing an internal transfer, is to look into it. Yes, it can and probably will be scary or challenging at times, but at the end of the day, it could be incredibly beneficial to you and the company. I know the experience I gained through my transfers is unique and will continue to help me flourish throughout my career.
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