How to Make a Career Pivot

A career pivot is the act of finding a different career that is still reliant on your current skills, but helps you move into a new trajectory. Often the draw of a career pivot, compared to a career change, is that you don’t have to restart at the bottom of the ladder.

If you are currently thinking about pivoting into a new role or new career, as with anything else related to changing jobs, you need to be strategic about it.

This means taking a few things into consideration before you start taking the needed steps to make the change.

  1. Why do you want to make the change?
    Is there something about a particular role or industry that attracts you? Is it truly exciting, or are you idealizing? Take time to dig into what you are interested in changing to, making sure you are seeing it realistically, and not through rose-colored glasses.

  2. Are you in a position financially to pivot?
    If you had to take a pay cut to get ahead later, are you able to? Being strategic about putting yourself in this position means you won’t be financially uncomfortable while transitioning.

  3. Are you going to be happier long-term? Is it going to be better?
    If you are making decisions when you’re unhappy, things may not change just because change your situation or circumstance. Make sure to ask yourself if are wanting this because the job truly is what is making you unhappy, or if you first need to work on making yourself happy before making such a big decision.

Once you have considered the items above and determined you are still looking to pivot to another role or industry, it’s time to think about your skillset and how to look at what you already have as well as how to get what you still need to make the change.

  1. Think about and jot down all the fundamental skills you’ve gained from past positions that you could highlight to apply to the new role you are seeking.

  2. Ask yourself if there is any training you could take to learn the skills needed for the new role. For example, let’s say you wanted to go into digital marketing – there are a number of resources online that you could access to learn the basics about things like Facebook Ads, email marketing, SEO, etc.

  3. In addition to online courses and resources, you might consider taking on an unpaid internship or working on a project for free to gain the experience and skills needed for what you are looking to do.

Once you’ve taken steps to add to your skillset, it is time to update your résumé with that information. You can then share it with your network, utilizing those who can vouch for the type of worker you are as well as those who can connect you to people and companies that will get you get into a new environment.

Note that you can do all this in your own company as well if there is an internal opportunity you’d like to explore. Ask to be mentored by a person in the area you want to be in. Talk to HR about a career path to work your way into that new role, versus moving companies, if you like where you are.

A career pivot should be a calculated risk, not a gamble. By taking the time to think and plan strategically about a career or role pivot, you can set yourself up on a new path of job satisfaction and success.

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