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Careers for Your Pivot from Higher Education

Are you thinking about a new challenge in your career? Maybe you are looking for better pay and benefits from work? No matter your reason, they are valid. Just like the students we help, we also need assistance thinking through options. This is especially so in the transition from higher education to the corporate sector.

One of the first areas to think through should be the 1-2 professions you want to focus your attention. Below is a kick start to exploring career paths that lend themselves to perfect pivot points from your time in student affairs to a new adventure in corporate. If you're looking for tips, check out the 5 Tips for Your Transition from Higher Ed to Corporate.


Many corporate organizations have their own internal coaching departments. The size of the department may vary widely depending on the organization's spending in this area, but with most Fortune 500 you'll find they need coaches! Coaches for their leaders, coaches for their individual contributors and coaches for skill sets are all necessary in many corporate environments to keep teams moving smoothly on projects and to help leaders be their very best.

There are also third-party coaching organizations who are hired by companies without their own internal coaches. This can be a great way to work with professionals from across different industries and levels.


As a recruiter you’re the guide for job seekers through the hiring process. As a recruiter you’ll be utilizing skills around communication, event planning, logistics, and project management. A perfect fit for the student affairs professional looking to make the change to corporate. A role as a University Recruiter or Early Career Recruiter are also a perfect way for you to utilize your higher education knowledge in finding talent for your new corporate role. Check out OneReq’s URx group for university recruiters. They have a job board and it’s a great way to network.

Learning & Development Specialist

This role can be vastly different based on the company and structure of an organization. Overall, the general vibe is you’ll oversee the learning management, development, and education for an organization. L&D roles can focus on both internal development of employees or external development of customers in the adoption of a product.

Coming from Higher Ed and especially student advisor or supervisor roles, we are experts in training and adult learning! Take that knowledge and apply it in your new context. Also rely on your new colleagues for their expertise in the industry or content area. Don’t be afraid to share best practices or make suggestions based on what you know works and what doesn’t. - Keaton West

Event Organizer

Similar to Higher Ed event organizing, you'll utilize your skills of time management, multi-tasking, and communication. Event planners can be for both internal events and/or external clients. Working with different departments to set up virtual or in-person meetings, awards, banquets, external partner events, and more. You'll also be overseeing day-of logistics, prep, maintaining the calendar, and enforcing policies and procedure. In corporate event spaces there may also be a sales component of encouraging clients who utilize a space to level-up their event with add-ons.


As a Facilitator you'll be leaning into your public speaking and conversation guidance skills. Delivering standardized training material of courses with one or more components. This can include virtual or in person topics around new-hire, refreshers, product or systems, and customer experience skills. Your audience can vary widely from individual contributors to managers. The main goal is to help people across the org develop crucial job skills. This can look like focusing on a particular skillset or ensure projects that have been completed are thought through and any team road bumps are worked out before the next project.

Executive Assistant

An executive assistant is a professional who provides administrative and organizational support to an executive, such as a CEO or other high-level executive at a company. Executive assistants are responsible for managing tasks such as coordinating meetings and appointments, managing calendars, managing correspondence, providing customer service, preparing reports, and other duties as assigned. They must be highly organized, detail-oriented, and have excellent communication and interpersonal skills. They must also be able to handle a variety of tasks simultaneously and work collaboratively with other members of the organization.

Social Impact/Corporate Philanthropy

A Social Impact/Corporate Philanthropy job is a great opportunity to make a positive impact in the world. It involves supporting initiatives to promote social good and corporate responsibility. This role requires the ability to research and identify organizations and causes that align with the company’s values and objectives. Once these have been identified, the role involves developing and executing plans for the organization to support these organizations and causes. This may include establishing partnerships, promoting initiatives, fundraising, and providing resources. To succeed in this role, you need to be passionate about making a positive difference in the world, have excellent communication and organizational skills, and be knowledgeable about the current trends in corporate philanthropy and social impact.

Entrepreneur/Kick Ass Founder

An entrepreneur is an individual who creates, organizes, and runs an organization with the aim of generating profit by taking on financial risk. They are usually self-motivated, organized, and have a strong work ethic. They are often innovative, driven to succeed, and have the ability to think outside the box. Entrepreneurs often have a passion for their business and are willing to put in the time and effort to make it successful. They are also willing to take risks and use their creativity and problem-solving skills to turn ideas into reality.

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

A Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion job is a role focused on creating a culture of inclusivity, respect, and acceptance for all individuals regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, or abilities. These roles often involve developing and implementing policies, programs, and initiatives to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. Additionally, individuals in these roles may provide education, training, and support to staff in order to increase awareness and understanding of diversity and inclusion topics.

Corporate Content Creator/Communication Manager

A communication manager is responsible for developing and executing strategic communications plans to strengthen relationships with a company's key stakeholders, such as customers, suppliers and employees. They will use a variety of methods to communicate with these groups, including public relations activities, internal communications, advertising, and digital media. They will also lead the development of messaging and content, as well as coordinate with external parties to ensure consistency of brand and message. Communication managers must be excellent communicators, have great organizational skills, and be creative with their approach to messaging.

Project Manager

A Project Manager is responsible for leading, directing, and overseeing the successful completion of a project. This role involves developing and managing project plans, organizing resources, assigning tasks and responsibilities, monitoring progress, and communicating between project stakeholders. The successful Project Manager will possess excellent leadership, problem-solving, communication, and organizational skills. They should also be able to manage multiple projects simultaneously and work with a variety of stakeholders. The Project Manager must be able to work in a fast-paced environment, think critically, and make decisions quickly.

[D]o a complete audit of your skill set in HED. Sometimes you never realize what you actually do in your HED roles. The resume bullet point "[M]anaged all aspects of student staff recruiting" encompasses so much. You marketed a position, scheduled x candidate interviews, created scoring rubrics, established priorities, led discussions, handled all candidate communication, etc. The list can go on and on and you will start to see trends in your skills. This can provide insight into other fields where you can succeed. - Elisabeth Burick

Program Manager

A Program Manager is a professional responsible for planning, organizing and managing programs and projects within an organization. They are responsible for developing and monitoring timelines, ensuring objectives are met, and ensuring the program meets its goals. They must also coordinate with various departments, manage budgets, and provide regular reports on program progress. Program Managers must possess exceptional organizational and communication skills, as well as an understanding of the organization's mission, vision, and goals. Additionally, they must be able to think strategically and be able to anticipate and solve problems.


A consultant is a professional who provides expert advice in a particular field of expertise. They typically have a broad knowledge base and can help clients solve complex problems or develop new strategies. Consultants also provide guidance and support to help clients achieve their goals. They are often skilled in project management, data analysis, and problem-solving, and they can help businesses make decisions and improve their operations.

Client/Account Manager

An account manager is an important role in any organization, as they serve as the point of contact between the organization and their customers. Account managers are responsible for ensuring customer satisfaction, growing customer relationships, and helping to develop strategies for achieving organizational goals. They are excellent communicators, able to build strong relationships with customers, and have a strong understanding of the organization’s products and services. Account managers must be highly organized, with great problem-solving skills and a customer-focused attitude. Above all, account managers must be able to prioritize customer needs and strive to build lasting customer relationships.

These are just a sample of the careers you can pursue for your pivot from Higher Education. Need career coaching assistance? Contact us today for an individualized plan and career coach.

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