Summary: Lindsey works as an Enablement Consultant, where she enjoys coaching customers on how to use software to achieve their goals. She enjoys the flexibility and comparable pay.
In this interview you’ll learn:
- How to have the confidence to apply for jobs that seem out of reach.
- How to translate your soft skills to make your resume and cover letters stand out.
- Mindset shifts that help you make the leap.
What’s your backstory? What got you into SLP, what did you like about it, and what drove you to seek a career change, and how did you start the transition?
I got into speech pathology as early as 10th grade. I went into college with a declared major in SPAU and went straight on through grad school as a COMD.
I went into schools right out of grad school, did some home health on the side over the next few years, then tried out an outpatient peds clinic. I worked in early intervention, then I opened my own private practice for a few years. I never really found the right fit— that’s one of the reasons I jumped around so much.
After a couple of years working as a sole proprietor in my own practice, I made my first move out of the field. I had seen my spouse make a big career move and saw firsthand how much of a change it made for his happiness and our life together. I decided to start looking around. I can’t even remember what search I put into Indeed but I came across an NPO that works in public schools and they had a chapter in my city. I looked into their mission and it really resonated with me, then I started looking around at the kinds of positions they had open. My favorite part of the SLP job was coaching and teaching patients, parents, caregivers, and other professionals. I worked there for several years and loved it.
After my twins were born I started looking for something with a little more flexibility and decent pay, so I went back to a peds outpatient clinic for what ended up being three years. I was ready to jump back out after confirming that clinical work is not my jam. Eventually, I found the job I have now, as an Enablement Consultant for a tech consultancy.
What do you do now?
My new role as an Enablement Consultant with a tech firm involves training folks on a few different software programs, providing guidance and advice as the ‘expert on call,’ and creating content for our blog and tutorial/help library. I’ve been in my current role for just about three months now.
My job still involves a lot of teaching and coaching, though mostly now with adults and professionals.
What do you like about it? Compared to SLP?
I really enjoy the problem-solving aspect of my new role. I knew for a long time as an SLP that teaching/coaching was the aspect of my job and my previous non-clinical roles I really enjoyed the most, and the monotony of clinic life was something I really didn’t like, along with fighting insurance companies.
My current role is a lot more flexible. I’m given autonomy and evaluated based on my work rather than time spent in a clinic. I’m able to work from home or the office.
I’m part of a team, which is something I really missed working for myself, in a small clinic, or even in the schools as an SLP. I’m challenged intellectually every day. There’s a lot of room to grow in my organization and to find my niche within the company.
Did you have to complete any additional education/certifications before applying?
I had a bit of varied experience when I applied to this job, as it wasn’t my first venture out-of-field. I think that helped some, because I already had a real practical idea of how my skills and experience as an SLP could translate to other types of work.
I didn’t complete any additional certifications prior to applying to my current job, but I had spent some time pursuing and making progress toward Salesforce Administration certification (which, it turns out, I don’t use. But I think the fact that I’d done some work on my own helped my case).
How did you find your job as an Enablement Consultant?
Finding this particular job was a bit of a fluke for me. I’d been seriously pursuing other opportunities for over a year, mostly in the non-profit space.
I have an acquaintance who works for the company I now work for who posted something on social media about how much she loved the company she works for and how great her job is. She’s an IT Admin and her expertise areas are WAY outside of mine.
But I decided to check out the company and see what it was all about. Keeping an open mind when looking through job postings REALLY helped my search— both within and outside my eventual new company.
I started looking in the places I knew: Idealist, my state’s nonprofit association’s job boards, and even my alma mater’s job boards and resources. Then, I expanded to Indeed and LinkedIn once I started really refining the type of job I was looking for.
I took a few career-focused personality type tests on Truity, took some time to examine the parts of clinical SLP work that I liked and those that I really disliked.
I looked at recruiting and workplace blogs: “Ask a Manager,” and Indeed articles about business terminology and job descriptions. I looked for keywords to watch for in my search.
What skills translate from SLP to Enablement Consultant?
I looked for things I COULD do and could translate from my experience instead of focusing on the things I didn’t yet have experience in.
My soft skills were what I leaned on in the interview process as well as in my cover letter. The hard skills, I knew I could learn. Continued education is a big part of being an SLP, so learning new things wasn’t foreign or distant.
Drawbacks/cons of being an Enablement Consultant?
One of the drawbacks is definitely being brand new at something is imposter syndrome. To be honest, I felt it a lot as an SLP as well.
But great company culture eases my imposter syndrome. My company gives me frequent positive feedback, time for future planning, and reminders that I’m brand new and doing great so far.
In addition, I make specific time for learning and intentionally push myself outside of my comfort zone. I sit in on meetings, and observe more complex parts of the company. Then stay curious, ask a lot of questions, and practice new skills as soon as I can.
What advice do you have for fellow SLPs looking to transition to your new career path, or transition in general?
Stay open to job titles very different from what you’re used to.
Consulting, managing, project work, etc…Be willing to look into just about anything and focus on looking for those keywords and soft skills you know you can bring to the table.
I know it sounds exhausting, but really tailor your resume to highlight the particular skills each job posting you’re considering mentions.
Rewrite fresh cover letters for each as well. I had some go-to examples to drop in and some paragraphs that didn’t change much…but that specificity and really putting in that bit of extra effort was enough to get me in the door some places that otherwise might not have considered me.
Also, using my network (even as extended as it was) really worked out for me and works well for lots of folks.
I came really close to a couple of awesome jobs and, I’ll be honest, my confidence took a hit each time I didn’t get the job. I usually took about six weeks off applying to new things to get my bearings, get my head straight, and figure out what I could do differently next time.
Still, if you’re completely burnt out, give yourself a deadline for when you want to leave your current job—whether for another (but different kind of) clinical position or something else. I was offered a hospital outpatient job and the job I took with my current company within a week of each other.
•Leverage your network – Lindsey found this job through an acquaintance.
•Know yourself: find what you liked about SLP, and list what you didn’t like. Lindsey knew she liked coaching and found that as a keyword in her new role as an Enablement Consultant.
•Tailor your resume and cover letters: Lindsey researched job descriptions, and matched keywords to her experience and strengths, for each job posting.
•Don’t be afraid to apply to things that seem outside of your direct skill set. You have plenty of soft skills like communication and organization, and are a pro at learning complex topics (grad school is proof of that!) Show employers that you’re willing to do self-learning by asking lots of questions, and consider additional business-oriented certifications like Salesforce.
Thanks Lindsey for taking the time to share your story! If you want to be the first to know about transition stories, resume and career tips, and access to an upcomoing job board, sign up for the email list for free.