Staying Motivated When Faced With Sector-Switching Challenges

Recently, we introduced you to Connie Lewin, Director of Marketing and Strategic Partnerships at Sustainable Health Enterprise (SHE). It took Connie two years to make the switch from for-profit to nonprofit and she has some helpful tips on what it takes to make a career change.

Know what you want to do: Connie wanted to use her business acumen in a way that could generate revenue, and help socially-conscious organizations create sustainable solutions to the problems. If you’re having trouble identifying your transferable skills, follow Connie’s lead by doing your research on Idealist. Thoroughly read the job descriptions. For organizations that you are most interested in, even read the older listings to really get a strong sense of what they look for. Perhaps you (like Connie did about jobs in international development) have an assumption about the types of skills needed for a job, but you are actually already equipped!

Ask around: When she began her job search, she looked into her own network and reached out to a former boss who was also a career switcher looking to use her marketing skills to make a difference. This interaction helped Connie learn how to navigate the process. Think about your own connections and their career paths. If you have someone in mind who has the knowledge to help you, but you feel skittish about getting in touch after a long hiatus, follow our suggestions for reconnecting with dormant ties.

Stay organized: Connie realized that she needed to stay organized especially since she was already working a full-time job. It’ easy to focus on your day-to-day work and let your transition fall to the side. To stay on top of your career change, here are some strategies for staying organized and setting aside time to do thorough research as well as customizing your resume for the jobs you really want.

Stay motivated: Two years is a long time to make a career change. Even the most tenacious among us might become frustrated. To stay motivated, reconnect with your intentions for job searching: Why do you want to make a career change? Also, remember to tend to your interests and passions outside of work.

What are your next steps for your career switch? Post in the comments below!

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I became acquainted with Idealist in late 2000 while working in the career development office at a private liberal arts college in NYC. I used it almost daily to help students and alumni find meaningful careers. After a 12-year stint in higher education, I worked as a career coach for professionals in various industries (and still used Idealist). During one of those many searches, a listing really caught my eye- the one for the newly-created position, Careers Program Coordinator. So... I jumped at the opportunity. Since then, I took on the role of Manager of Career Content for Idealist Careers, creating career content for job seekers, leaders, and other nonprofit professionals. Understanding the roles that a positive outlook and holistic self-care play in career success, I've shared with our readers time-honored methods for improving confidence and productivity. Now, as Manager of College and Professional Development, my focus is on lifting the advice from Idealist Careers "off the page". Drawing from my experience in career development, I propel job seekers and career changers towards taking control of their searches with confidence and removing fear, uncertainty, and other blocks to success via in-person workshops and seminars, webinars, and conference programming. My great loves are cooking (preferably without a recipe, otherwise I doctor it up), dancing, live cultural performances, identifying the tasting notes in a good cup of coffee, exploring neighborhoods for hidden gems, and anything else that sparks the senses and allows me to experience all the beauty, dynamism, and intrigue that vivaciously living in a remarkable world offers.
For-Purpose Partnerships: Lessons from Gotham Greens and Green Bronx Machine Dancing Down Walls: Creating Work That Supports Your Art with Krystal Harfert of BANDALOOP


  1. Want to work with Sustainable Health Enterprises with Connie Lewin? Check out the Business Development Associate opportunity. The application deadline is September 9th (2016), so act fast!

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