“I Started as a Science Teacher, Now I’m a Product Leader at Lowe’s.” (The Story Behind a Resume)

Did you ever in finding yourself thinking that the career trail you selected may not be for you anymore?

Marcus did too. And no longer most effective as soon as.

He has modified careers four times previously decade he went from being a science trainer and basketball coach to entrepreneur, advertising professional, strategist, as well as finally to product chief at Lowe’s.

At first, it might sound daunting. But all his career pivots had one thing in commonplace. In the top they were given him where he’s today.

During this journey, he used to be recruited through as well as interviewed with Amazon, Lowe’s, Facebook, Disney+, and Lyft.

Even despite the fact that converting the direction can really feel overwhelming, it may be accomplished. If you might be bearing in mind a profession alternate for whatever causes, Marcus has some great guidelines for you!

Marcus will let you know: When is the fitting time to change your career;How long it took him to get to his current role;What he does as a Product Leader at Lowe’s;What were the principle demanding situations right through his occupation pivots;How Amazon’s recruiter approached him on LinkedIn;That a skydiving video link on a resume were given him a job;His secret tip on the best way to exchange a cover letter;What occupation change interview questions to prepare for;How to barter a salary (even as a profession switcher);And extra.
I have listened to a podcast where you mentioned that during 2009 you have been laid off as a trainer because of the recession as well as that it was additionally an underpaid job. Was that the cause so that you can alternate careers?

It indisputably used to be. I love teaching as well as if the Great Recession did not occur, I’d most likely still be in teaching and maybe even change into a major. But I’ve all the time sought after to be an entrepreneur, therefore it was once the fitting time to check out a career pivot. Getting an MBA with a advertising focus changed the whole thing for me. I am a large believer in getting a degree, particularly if you are a occupation switcher. The MBA opened the door for me back then as well as it continues to do so.Was it tricky to get into industry?

It was. It required a variety of finding out and I was once additionally so young at the time. I used to be twenty-5 years old and most MBAs are twenty-eight to thirty-. I didn’t have numerous enjoy, but I used to be in a position to show my strengths as well as what makes me distinctive. I leaned into the ones things as well as had a super interview with the admissions administrative center and was fortunate to get in.During your research, you began to your own company, right kind?

Yes, I did. Swag4Life Clothing was my first ever undertaking. The thought got here once I wanted to get a few university branded clothing therefore everyone knows that I am attending NC State. ๐Ÿ˜€ But I didn’t see the rest that appealed to me. So, I thought, whydon’t I create a logo that takes the university brand fairness, and then add some graffiti as well as hip-hop taste? I got a freelance with NC State to use their trademark after which hired a few great designers to assist convey my vision to existence. We introduced it to market, I pitched it to an investor as well as got an preliminary investment of $50,000.That’s spectacular for a primary-year student!

Actually, the whole lot I learned in industry school all over the day, I was once applying to my start-up at night time. It was an awesome enjoy. I will by no means fail to remember when our clothing used to be officially on sale and I saw scholars dressed in it.Why did making a decision to abandon your corporate after faculty?

That’s a great question. We ran out of cash. ๐Ÿ˜€ So, I needed to get a real job. But it used to be additionally as a result of I was once transitioning into retail and it was once a challenge for me to continue construction my very own company while I am within the retail trade. I’ve made up our minds to center of attention extra on how I can continue to grow in company retail in terms of technique. But those issues I learned as an entrepreneur I all the time take with me. And a lot of companies value that too.I’ve seen on your resume that when a couple of yr in sales, you made a decision to change to advertising. Why?

When I took the sales job, I didn’t feel like I used to be the usage of my MBA. I was riding gross sales as well as revenue through customer service as well as revel in, however I sought after to get deeper into the business plan. And that is what truly led me to advertising. Because of my pastime for shopper conduct, as a marketer I used to be in a position to really understand what the buyer desires, how we serve the right reviews and in reality were given more into strategic pondering.As a marketer, you also labored at Amazon. That’s spectacular! How did you get there?

With ifindar! :DReally? ๐Ÿ˜€

Yes. ๐Ÿ˜€ At that point, I had numerous revel in in marketing as well as I sought after to reinvent myself. I began discovering resume templates and found a resume of Marissa Mayer, a former CEO of Yahoo. I saw her template as well as it used to be so wonderful! She mentioned issues she was proud of and it felt like you have been reading a tale about who she used to be, what was vital to her, and how much she enjoyed being a mom.

And I sought after to put myself the similar way. I started looking out and located ifindar. So, I sat down as well as began writing my resume. I sought after to write down it the way that recruiters will experience reading it. I’ve put my picture on the entrance of my resume, I talked about issues I am happy with, I even brought content material like YouTube movies after I was public talking or from my skydiving enjoy. I introduced leisure pursuits and awards that I have gotten during the years. And I simply truly informed my tale.Did you apply with that resume at Amazon?

Actually, now not in the beginning. I began interviewing for roles with another companies. And I were given great feedback from recruiters like “Marcus, as someone who reads resumes for living, I loved reading your resume”. And all the way through that point, I were given a LinkedIn message from an Amazon recruiter pronouncing “Hey, we adore your profile. Would you be fascinated by moving to Seattle?” ๐Ÿ˜€ What did you answer?

I was once , therefore I despatched them my resume. They appreciated my historical past and they scheduled a phone interview, then another telephone interview after which I had a full interview with five people for 5 hours. I was so ready as well as I knew it was once THE moment. I knew it could alternate our circle of relatives’s life as well as I took it very critically and implemented a large number of the megastar manner as well as all of the different scenarios. Within one month, I had an offer to join Amazon with complete relocation. It was superb the way it all took place. But I felt like that resume truly advised my story and I do consider it opened that door for me.
I agree, as a result of they might see who you might be as an individual, not only as a certified. That could make an enormous difference.

Exactly. It helped them know how I would culturally fit in. I knew I had the right tale to inform after which while the massive opportunity got here, I was once able with the fitting template. And it actually modified the sport for me.That’s cool! And how was a while at Amazon?

It was once incredible. I realized so much about the right way to scale issues across different countries, tips on how to be scrappy as an entrepreneur and as a advertising leader. But as I discussed ahead of, I was once changing into the selling man but I had other abilities that I sought after to carry to the desk. So, I started interacting with product managers, asking them what they do. They said Today, I’m doing marketplace analysis as well as I am chatting with users. I’m also doing an AB check to peer if this button should be red or blue. The subsequent day I work with my engineers”. I noticed them doing cool issues, launching new applied sciences. I was so amazed through their job, I mentioned to myself that my next transfer is going to be into product control. I may just take my area wisdom, advertising, technique and the power to collaborate and lead with out an immediate authority.You’re now at Lowe’s, however did not you take into accounts doing product management at Amazon?

I did take into consideration it. But I think I was once therefore laser-excited about simply doing advertising there, that I didn’t see it as a possibility. At the similar time, it’s difficult to tap into product control when you should not have the traditional computer science historical past. But I was once lucky to search out a possibility the place I am building merchandise for advertising and marketing customers. So, it was more uncomplicated to transition as I could deliver my domain experience.Actually, you had labored at Lowe’s earlier than. Was it more straightforward to get into the corporate once more?

It was because I had already proven that I used to be a cultural fit. But truthfully, I didn’t wish to leave Lowe’s even in the first position. I always had an excellent enjoy, however I felt like I had to keep advancing my occupation as well as adding extra talents. So, after I had the opportunity to return back, I used to be like “I’m coming house”, just with new talents as well as stories.Since you up to now worked in advertising as well as this new place was once additionally associated with advertising, you almost certainly did not have to begin in a junior position, right?

I did not. I was once very lucky that the position needed any person with robust advertising and marketing experience. And my earlier enjoy at Lowe’s was once additionally on the marketing staff the place I was once using the promoting gear to look how we will make it better. So, I had a deep knowledge of the user, knew the tradition and it was the skill set that was needed at the team. That combination allowed me to transition to a better position.That’s great as a result of continuously, occupation switchers have to begin from the ground, additionally pay-wise. So, it is easier if you’ll be able to in finding one thing which is similar to your previous box.

Yes, that’s very important. You need to find out whether it is the proper have compatibility with regards to your skills, experience, your pastime as well as the culture. Those issues must be in position to make sure that you’re set up for luck.Did you do any training or courses ahead of you implemented for a job in a new box? Or did you do it whenever you had been already within the role?

A mixture of each. When I was at Amazon as well as I already knew that product control is the next step for me, I used to be seeking to interact with PMs and engineers to be informed more about product control. I used to be also researching what a product manager does, reading books from Marty Cagan, an implausible creator of 2 books approximately product control, Inspired as well as Empowered. Then all through my first yr in product control, I ate up such a lot content. I have read plenty of blogs, attended webinars, listened to podcasts and audiobooks.How lengthy did it take you to adapt to the brand new role?

I’d say it took around 8 months. After that time, I felt like I used to be taking part in the game, I wasnt considering as much whether or not I should go the ball or shoot it. I understood the gamers and what we were seeking to accomplish. But I am nonetheless learning every day.And what precisely are you presently doing as a product leader at Lowe’s?

Simply positioned, my job is to solve issues for our customers, that also is going to drive a favorable outcome for our trade. I center of attention on building marketing systems that make lifestyles more straightforward for internal advertising teams who’re our consumers at Lowe’s. I am operating with builders and other product managers, figuring out problems, what our targets are, and how we release new features which can be going to in point of fact make an impact as well as resolve problems. And that’s some of the exciting thing about being a product manager that you are solving issues.Did you already know that you simply had many transferable talents from earlier jobs that you want to use to your present position?

Absolutely, even from my teaching revel in. Communication and with the ability to take a complex drawback as well as communicate in some way that any one can understand is super important. Another talent is move-practical leadership as well as with the ability to affect folks thatdon’t technically report back to you. Also, I may just perceive the buyer higher as a result of I’ve already been within the trade. That sounds nice. But nonetheless, wasnt it a bit of frightening to switch careers for the fourth time? I imply, many of us are afraid to do it even the primary time.

I suppose I’ve made numerous pivots ๐Ÿ˜€ And sure, it was once scary making another move. But in the end, I feel like any my pivots skyrocketed my profession. For me, it was important to grasp when is the suitable time to make a pivot.How did you know whilst was the best time?

After I have felt I acquired a host of talents and enjoy, I requested myself: Am I continuing to grow? Am I being challenged? Whenever I felt like the ones issues werent in place, I first thought about whether or not there’s another certificate that I can get. That’s one way you’ll be able to keep growing sooner than making a decision to make a pivot. But if you feel like it is time to make a pivot, then you definitely re almost definitely right. However, my newest transfer was once also about coming house to North Carolina. That’s where I am at the start from and where Lowe’s headquarters are.I’ve read to your LinkedIn that your pivot to product control was the most challenging for you. Why?

Before, I used to be within the advertising space where we would have liked to drive site visitors, get other folks to buy online, or undertake a brand new cost manner. And I switched to building a product that can remedy any individual’s downside. I needed to shift from a marketing attitude as well as laser center of attention on the consumer. So, I suppose it used to be principally about the fundamentals.Sometimes when you find yourself changing careers, you could have colleagues who are more youthful than you but have more enjoy within the box. Wasnt this a problem too?

There had been stories the place I’ve had different product managers that have been within the area longer. But Idon’t see it as a nasty thing. Actually, one of the crucial things that I have done when you consider that I’ve jumped into product control is reach out to other product managers and talk with them approximately fixing different issues, other frameworks, or what blogs they are reading. I see it as an opportunity to be told from them.Are there every other demanding situations that you just had to face right through your profession pivots?

Earlier in my occupation, it used to be laborious for me to transition from being viewed as a trainer versus a trade chief. I sent my resume they usually were announcing “Hey, we all know you’ve gotten it but it’s exhausting for us not to call to mind you as a teacher.” So, in my resume, I started to downplay the truth that I was a teacher as well as relatively inquisitive about transferable talents that I got from teaching. I even changed the position of my instructing on my resume. It used to be on the best, I positioned it within the middle and then placed more relevant issues on the top. It was this small trade however fortunately I got interviews as well as used to be viewed another way.Wow, that is harsh. What different adjustments did you’re making on your resume, with the exception of this?

When I went to apply for my first large job, I put a link to my skydiving video on my resume. And it is actually why I got hired. ๐Ÿ˜€ The VP of marketing told me that when she noticed my interest and effort within the video, she knew that she wanted to work with that man. So, I always inform people to place some unique content on their resume. You never know who’ll view it and the way it will form your story. And to this present day, I nonetheless have that video on my resume.That’s therefore cool! People often do not come with such issues on their resumes as a result of it is in most cases no longer urged to incorporate them. But while carried out right, it assist you to set your self excluding others.

Yes, as well as in the end, other folks wish to work with those who they like or feel like they would be a excellent cultural are compatible. You want to include something that will tell the recruiter “Hey, because of this I am different as well as this is what I’m passionate about”.Did you additionally ship a cover letter? Or just a resume?

A lot of folks talk about cover letters, but as an alternative of sending one, I ship my persona overview effects. Basically, it is an evaluate where you answer a host of questions after which it spits out your most sensible 5 non-public characteristics, like being strategic, achiever and so on. And I have were given nice comments from recruiters, therefore I could inspire folks to do this. It paints the overall image along side your resume.Haha, I like the theory! Did you connect it as a PDF?

Yes. Even while jobs require a quilt letter, I add this review as a substitute.And do companies still get back to you? Because there’s some corporations thatdon’t find it irresistible whilst job applicantsdon’t practice directions. On the opposite hand, I would be inspired as a recruiter.

I simplest got excellent comments from recruiters saying they respect that I’ve introduced the overview. But yes, it’s a little tough. And everybody needs to decide whether they want to do it or now not. But I had a just right revel in with it.Do you will have another advice for job seekers? Especially those that need to trade careers?

First,don’t disqualify yourself as a job candidate if you do not check the entire packing containers in the job description. Especially if you’re a occupation switcher. Instead, focus on what you do have and nonetheless observe. And just remember to inform your story along with your resume.

Second, LinkedIn is a smart place to get a job. Use a characteristic known as open to work. If you upload that on your profile, you’ll list the jobs that you are all for, or where you wish to have to work. And handiest corporations as well as recruiters can see it. I get numerous job alternatives just on account of that characteristic. And I do consider that was once one of the most factors that were given me the Amazon job.

Finally, just remember to stay positive. It’s a process as well as it can be irritating. Just proceed to submit those applications together with your best possible resume.