Product & Design
Mar 1, 2023

Career Change: Three Tips for Successfully Managing Internal Moves

Milica Ilić
Associate Product Manager, Supply Tech

Milica Ilić is on our Associate Product Manager program, a mentoring scheme designed to support participants on their path to becoming Product Managers. No stranger to career change, she shares her tips on managing growth and navigating internal job moves. 

Since joining GetYourGuide in 2017, I have worked across four different departments and in six different jobs. Although some might express surprise at how many roles I’ve had, not only am I truly proud of each one, they also brought me to where I am today. 

I currently work as an Associate Product Manager, which is a 6-24 months-long program designed to help participants grow into the role of Product Manager with a dedicated mentor. Before working in Product I spent roughly two years in Customer Care, two years in Sales, and two years in Content Management. Each of these new career paths was more challenging than the last, and I learned a lot from them all. The variety means that my GetYourGuide journey to date has seen me support customers and activity providers directly, as well as work closely with a range of internal teams. Shaping the experience of both customers and activity providers has been my passion all these years and is what continues to drive me, no matter the role I am in. 

From my own experience, GetYourGuide supports internal movers and helps us grow within the company. I think very few companies offer this many growth opportunities, backed by managers who are genuinely supportive of the directions team members want to explore. I am very grateful for these chances and would like to share some of my own learnings, hoping it will help others grow into their desired roles.

1. Be Flexible

In terms of structure and strategic goals, the GetYourGuide I joined in 2017 is very different from the company today. I believe that in order to develop within a company that’s growing so fast we need to be flexible and able to adapt. It will happen that departments merge, change function, or divide – you name it, changes will inevitably take place that impact employees. Our job is to adapt and support the strategic direction as well as we can, and we can easily do it as long as we believe in it. 

The pandemic is a great example of that, where lots of teams had to step out of their comfort zone, work on new and unknown projects, constantly iterate, and shift focus based on the most recent findings. As difficult as this looked, it was a great learning opportunity. True learning always takes place outside of our comfort zone. 

My tip for you: Challenge yourself and don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. No matter how daunting, take each new task as a learning opportunity – what can you get out of it? How can you learn most? In which area? 

Showing this mindset also indicates to managers and colleagues that you are reliable, resilient, and able to take on challenges, which will make them more likely to support you in your growth. 

2. Have Impact Inside the Company

When we talk about impact we often talk about value provided to customers or activity providers. What we tend to forget is the impact we have on the people inside GetYourGuide.

For me, having an impact has been a lot about shaping or promoting the company culture and making the people around me feel welcome. I split impact into two areas: work ethic and culture. 

The former is about respecting your coworkers’ time (for example by keeping meetings punctual and on-point); being there for them when they need support (especially for new joiners); or being true to your word (having a high say-do ratio). 

Spreading the company culture means attending the all-hands meetings; taking part in events the company participates in (such as volleyball or football tournaments); and caring about how you make your colleagues feel. We need to support and care for each other if we want to successfully support our activity providers and our customers. 

These behaviors are crucial for an employee to build a good reputation and strong relationship with stakeholders and coworkers. Bonus points if you are consistent in them! Showing these behaviors long-term helps build trust and we are more likely to get the help from a manager or a colleague when it comes to growth opportunities. This was extremely helpful for me while preparing for each new role, during the interview processes, as well as during the onboarding into the new job. 

My tip for you: Focus on being the best version of yourself every day. Don’t let small things slip (for example thinking “this meeting is not important, I don’t need to prepare, I’ll figure something out on the way”) and remember that each action you take or word you say shapes the company culture, as well as your reputation. 

3. Leverage Previous Knowledge and Experience

Starting a new job is always challenging for multiple reasons: new team, new domain, hard and soft skills needed, and so on. The biggest challenges happen when all of these factors change: a completely new domain, in a team you’ve never worked with, and with a skillset you don’t yet have. Sounds scary, but it isn’t. Two tips I have for you:

  • Each of my career moves was somewhat of a continuation or upgrade of my previous role. This enabled me to focus on core hard and soft skills needed for the job, while not putting so much emphasis on the domain or getting to know the team, as this was already something I brought with me from my previous role. 

    I’d recommend this approach to anyone who is in a position to do so – think about what you can do in your current role to prepare yourself for the next steps. Can you change your focus slightly, request a different project or assignment, invest time in learning or getting to know the team? 
  • If I have learned anything in my job transitions, it’s that success is 80% mindset. Our CPO, Ameet Ranadive has written here about why being exceptional takes grit; he asserts that “effort counts twice,” and I couldn’t agree more. 

    In none of my jobs or career transitions did I have everything it takes to do the job great – but I had eagerness to learn and the correct mindset to take on any challenge that comes my way. 
My tip for you: Take feedback and learning seriously. Seek feedback from your manager and others – be eager to learn and commit to delivering impactful results. Don’t be afraid to ask many questions – it’s the only way to learn.

Final Thoughts

Don’t be afraid to listen to your thoughts, be brave, and see how you can push yourself the furthest. You are in the driver’s seat of your own growth, others can only be there to support you. Just about anything is possible with the right level of willpower and mindset – take it from me, a Product Manager-to-be with a master’s degree in language teaching and translation! 

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