For nine years, Todd Cox was a sales engineer in the IT industry, explaining the technical nitty-gritty during sales calls. Cox, who lives in Atlanta, enjoyed the work but says he eventually realized there wasn't much upward mobility. Where he did see opportunity for growth: marketing.
So, over the past year Cox, 39, read marketing books and tried to find as many mentors as possible. Though not everyone offered to coach him along, Cox says they all shared some insight. One of his most promising contacts was his current employer. Cox alerted the hiring manager of his interest in marketing, and watched for job openings at the company. "I played up my understanding of the product and where I think the company needs to go to be successful," he says. "You have to sell them on your work ethic, not your background."
This spring the company launched a new business unit and created a position in market development. Cox was hired for the job. "The general manager and I discussed that there was a need for someone to identify new market niches," he says. "And I said, `Hey, I can do that.'"