I Transitioned From Social Work to This Iconic Tech Company — Here's My Advice for Career Changers

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Photo Courtesy of Audible.

Photo Courtesy of Audible.

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What drew Chardlyne Dort to Audible was her love of books, but what kept her there was the supportive culture — something she experienced from her first day in the office. As a Social Worker turned Customer Care professional turned Recruiting Specialist, Dort has been able to lean on her Audible colleagues and manager for support during each stage of her career change. 

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As she’s come into her new career, she’s discovered that having diverse experiences is a key benefit of being a career changer and she’s been able to share many lessons and learnings with her colleagues

We were lucky enough to have a conversation with Dort about some of those lessons, including her advice for job seekers, how she stays productive while working from home, and how Audible’s culture has helped her thrive, professionally and personally. She also shared her best tips for building a community during COVID-19 — and how a connection over storytelling led her to Audible to begin with. 

Chardlyne Dort, Recruiting Specialist

Favorite Listen: “Believe Bigger” by Marshawn Evans Daniels

How long have you been in your current role at Audible, and what were you doing previously?

I’ve been with Audible for six years as of last month. I’ve been a Recruiting Specialist on our Talent Acquisition team for about two years now. Prior to joining the TA team, I was a Concierge Specialist within our customer care organization. 

So, what does a day as a Recruiting Specialist look like? 

In recruiting, every day is different — especially now that we are in a virtual world. My day-to-day includes sourcing new talent through different avenues, and I’ve recently become involved in virtual job fairs. 

You shifted into this role from another function at the company — that’s a unique experience. What led you to make the change?

I’ve always thought of myself as an agent of change. I received my Masters in Social Work, so when I first started my career at Audible, I was comfortable connecting with people. When I decided I wanted to do more, I approached my manager, who played a pivotal role in supporting me during my career change. 

I am also part of our Black Employees Network (BEN), where employees can gain support, explore networking opportunities and hear about new roles or opportunities internally at Audible. And I participated in our rotational program, where I spent three months learning about and gravitating towards the Human Resources side of the company. 

It sounds like those groups really helped you see the possibilities at Audible. Are there any other resources you find really interesting or special at Audible, especially as a career changer?

Audible offers numerous training resources and various ways to strengthen our skill sets internally. In addition to leveraging my manager, I’ve always been someone who does a lot of research and problem solving on my own. I’ve been able to learn from and shadow my colleagues, where I’ve learned a lot of new techniques I’ve been able to implement. 

Audible offers a tuition reimbursement program and I’m excited about that benefit in case I decide to pursue my PhD.  

That’s such an exciting opportunity. What else is exciting you right now as a professional?

As a recruiting specialist, I do a lot of relationship building and figuring out what the job entails in order to find the right talent. Understanding the role and the type of talent we’re looking for is key. The best part of working in recruiting is aligning someone with the next role in their career and getting to share the news that they got the job. Career opportunities can change the trajectory of someone’s life. 

Absolutely. It sounds like you really saw Audible as one of those life-changing opportunities. What made it so interesting to you?

I’ve always had a love for books because they were my way to escape. I was referred to Audible by a friend because of this love, and when I did some research on Audible prior to my interview, I found a lot of great information about the culture. Once I got the role, I really dove into our culture of storytelling and listening to Audio stories. 

Especially now, I deeply appreciate and respect the culture at Audible. There is a lot of flexibility and support. It’s really an indescribable type of culture that is so supportive of growth and movement. 

How do you mean?

From day one, my team was so welcoming. The people who trained me and who I shadowed have been pivotal to my career in helping me develop both professionally and personally. 

Part of what’s interesting about Audible’s culture is its clearly defined mission and principles. I’d imagine they’re part of what makes the environment so supportive. How do you think they’ve guided you in your career journey? 

 Our People Principles, Customer Obsession, Imagine and Invent Before They Ask, Articulate The Possible, Move Fast To Make It Real, Study and Draw Inspiration from Culture & Technology and Activate Caring principles have been leveraged within my development at all times as it relates to engaging projects or groups in order to provide feedback or make recommendations. I often find that all of Audible’s People Principles naturally get adapted when taking on projects or tasks at different times and serving a different purpose, every time. 

Since working remotely, I’ve focused on ‘Activate Caring’ which highlights how you can remain active in your community, even amidst  a pandemic. In-house, we have our own Community Outreach team that has identified opportunities for employees to Activate Caring, which I am always excited to take part in.

It’s become so apparent to me in this interview that you really do care about your colleagues and others’ careers. What’s your best career advice for women professionals out there?

Your career should be one that excites you and keeps challenging you. My advice is to take on new projects and challenge yourself, as doing so aides in cultivating and developing certain skills. For example, throughout my career  I have taken on various projects which were not within my scope. I went into these projects with apprehension; however, I was eager and willing to learn.  All of the projects I have been given the opportunity to participate in left me with a new piece of information that I may have not had upon starting. I truly believe having a desire to grow and learn is key in my career journey and growth and has been what has sustained me within my career goals.

Another tip is to be task-oriented. I leverage my calendar to manage both my personal and professional life. Audible stresses the importance of work-life balance, which my manager has also supported me in. I set certain parameters for myself and set a time to log off each evening (even if it’s a little bit after hours, due to the nature of recruiting!). 

I feel as though for every career success we have, there’s also a mistake that taught us how to get there. What’s your favorite career mistake and what did it teach you?

My biggest career mistake has always been not voicing my opinions out of fear. I’ve almost always been an introvert, but during my time at Audible, I have gradually become a mixture of introvert and extrovert. I’ve learned that you should not be afraid to respectfully provide feedback or share your opinions. Thanks to the support of my team and my manager, I’ve been able to grow my confidence. 

And what do you think is the most memorable piece of career advice you’ve received from your support system? 

To take the time to acknowledge accomplishments — no matter how minor or big. Every step counts when it comes to achievement and if you neglect the small things you will miss realizing how far you have come. You cannot reach a goal without taking a certain amount of steps; with each step, you are that much closer to reaching your goal.

Switching to the job search — what’s your best piece of advice there? 

Take the time to prepare for all interactions with the company you are interested in — whether those are virtual or not. You want to do your research to fully understand the nature of the role and the company.

You also want to make sure you’re aligned with the message you’re putting out about yourself, specifically on your resume. Little details make a big difference. 

It’s true that a tailored approach seems to be the most effective. So, what advice would you give to women with your very unique career path — women interested in making a major career change? 

Take a risk on yourself. I always tell people: “You’re capable of more than you know.” Everyone is new to a role at one point. Allow yourself time to get acclimated to a role before you make up your mind about it. You also want to make sure you're fully ready to make that leap. If you’re hesitant, think about why? If you don’t have those skill sets, how can you learn them? Set a realistic trajectory for yourself with your manager so that you establish clear expectations. 


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