Three years ago, I was working as a line cook at a great little pub on the Danforth, and I was ready for a change. The food service industry was in the process of swallowing me whole; I was learning a lot, but ready for an exit plan. I enrolled in the digital media marketing program at George Brown College. At the same time, I started to code.

In my first week at George Brown, a smart and supportive instructor asked the class a great question - “What did you like to do as a kid?” It stuck with me; when I was a kid I liked building with Lego, and by the time I finished the program, I knew I wanted to make stuff more than I wanted to market it. I followed up with a 6-month coding bootcamp at the University of Toronto. It was a big investment for someone supporting an education habit on barista wages, but I had a great experience. When I finished, I was ready for the hard part - landing my first job in a brand new field.

I’m one of those career-diverse millennials. I’ve worked at a dive bar and a desk job, a hospital and a hockey rink, a butcher shop, a 2-person startup, and a gallery café. I’ve worked in three provinces and gone to three colleges. I finished a degree in classical music performance, then watched an injury take away the skill I’d honed for years. I worked at a Christian nonprofit that let me do a 9-month full-time internship, then said they couldn’t hire me because I’m gay. I’ve done a bunch of stuff and learned from all of it. Diverse experiences have taught me things that a linear career path never could.

But on paper, I don’t make much sense - at least not without editing. In the surgical process of crafting a resume, I often cut out the experiences that taught me the most. I end up minimizing qualities that might be my best - like the resilience and independence to make choices that don’t follow expectations. It’s simply a limitation of the format; in a 10-second pass through a resume, the easiest career to grasp is the one that requires the least imagination.

In the midst of my job hunt, I met Hatchways. Hatchways is awesome. They gave me evaluations to work on, invited me for an interview, and offered constructive coaching and encouragement. Based on my skills, they connected me with several interviews, at companies where I might never have passed a resume screen. It’s an intelligent process, and a welcome contrast to the white noise and wasted efforts you so often see between recruiters and potential candidates.

Now, I’m a month into a new job as a software developer. It’s still a bit surreal; I decided to make a change, and it worked, thanks to the great support I found along the way. If you’re looking to make a leap, please know that the journey was hard and often uncertain, but success is very possible. And if you have the opportunity to work with Hatchways, I totally recommend it.