By Lucy Kravitz, DLE Communications Intern, Junior at Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY
A career change is not always an easy thing to do–especially when you loved your job as much as Michelle Lopez did. A devoted member of the DLE Advisory Board, Michelle is navigating a major career and life shift–moving to a new state and entering a new career industry.
The former executive director of the Berkshire Immigrant Center (BIC) in Pittsfield, MA, where she and her family also had a home, Michelle is currently trying to sell her home and has moved to Upstate New York to start her new role as Director of Global Education for the State University of New York (SUNY) Oneonta. In her new role, Michelle will oversee three employees and various student staff; work to increase interest in and access to international opportunities for students; support the COIL (Collaborative Online International/Intercultural/Interdisciplinary Learning) program; serve as the primary liaison for international student services, including responsibilities related to risk management and emergency response; and assist in strengthening international student recruitment.
She left her dream job at the BIC for personal reasons following the birth of her now 5-month-old son, Dante. Michelle explains, “My new job allows me to be close to family, my husband has more job opportunities and we finally found a great daycare for my son.”
Leaving a job may be an awkward and difficult situation for some. Michelle gives three key pieces of advice for moving ahead with dignity and respect. “Give as much advance notice as possible, be transparent and be grateful for the experience and to the people who taught you the valuable skills you gained in your job,” she outlines.
One thing harder than leaving a job you love may be finding a new one that will be just as enjoyable. Michelle advises to apply to every job that inspires you and not just the roles you are qualified for.
She explains that most employers are looking for an employee that shows true passion for the work and can grow as a whole with the organization. “A cover letter is the perfect place to explain that you’re excited to learn and dedicated to the mission and values of the entity,” she shares. She believes that showing enthusiasm for a job and putting in the extra effort is more effective than just applying for a position because you are qualified.
Michelle is excited for her new job, and plans to make new connections in her organization by networking as much as she can. A self-described people person, she loves to socialize. She has set a goal to introduce herself to at least three new people per day–either in person or via email in order to grow her professional network.
The DLE wishes Michelle the best with her new journey! To read more about Michelle Lopez and her career transition, click here.