July 5, 2022

Sydney’s Career Story: Turning a Setback into a Step ForwardIris


Being laid off from a job is never easy, and it’s become an all-too-common experience for so many during COVID-19. When it happened to Sydney, she used it as an opportunity to pursue her passion for learning more about marketing. She gained new skills, and began volunteering for a non-profit. Seven weeks later, she’d landed her dream job. She shares her story below:

A little bit about me

I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from the University of Pittsburgh. The truth is, I had very little idea of what I wanted to do when I got out of school. I fell into recruiting by accident, which led to HR, which then turned into community management, which was what allowed me the opportunity to learn more about marketing. Mostly, I’ve been at the right place at the right time, and hungry to learn, not climb a ladder. I had the opportunity at my last job to learn about marketing, but I didn’t actually do much of it myself because of my lack of experience. Being able to take classes has helped me enormously.

How I found Coursera

Just before I got laid off in response to COVID-19, someone shared an article on Facebook titled, “Here are 450 Ivy League courses you can take online right now for free.” I remember thinking, “wow, this is amazing,” and I reposted it thinking, “One day, I may use this. I don’t have time right now, but maybe someone else can find some value.”

Fast forward a few weeks, and I was without a job, and I had a lot of time on my hands. As someone who thrives on having a schedule, I immediately thought back to this article and dove in to see what classes were available, and if any of them would help me advance my marketing career. That’s how I found Coursera. I liked the platform from a UX perspective, so I decided to consolidate and use this tool for all of my classes. I originally signed up for the free version but ended up purchasing the certificates to boost my credibility and LinkedIn profile.

What I learned

I signed up for three courses:

I took the brand management course out of a desire to learn more, but not a need or requirement. It’s been challenging, but I’ve learned a lot. A few weeks into the course, I found an opportunity through LinkedIn to volunteer my time on a marketing committee for a local non-profit. Within a week, they asked me to put together a global marketing strategy, and guess what knowledge I’m using? Everything I learned in the brand management course! 

It was so awesome to immediately see the fruits of that labor. I went back to my notes, rewatched some of the videos, and put together an entire deck for them using my newly established skills. Fast forward a few more weeks, and someone I connected with on Linkedin saw my background and asked if I wanted to talk because she thought I would be a great fit for their team. I started my new full-time dream job 49 days after I got laid off. And I can say with absolute certainty the skills I learned in courses on Coursera helped me get this job.

What’s next

I want to establish myself in the marketing field for a company that is trying to leave the world a bit better than they found it. I’m not chasing a title, just looking to get my foot in the door and continue learning and empowering others. I really love to make other people shine.

The post Sydney’s Career Story: Turning a Setback into a Step Forward appeared first on Coursera Blog.

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