5 Actionable Steps To A Successful Career Pivot

A career pivot can be done at any point of your career and for whatever reason. People change jobs for the topmost reasons of a better work-life chance, a more fulfilling career, or to expand their professional skill set. Anyone or even none of these reasons could be yours. Similarly, an average employee in the United States is bound to change career every 2-4 years. Whether you decide to make a career pivot, following some actionable steps holds promises of a successful career pivot.

In this article, we have identified 5 practical steps to successfully pivot your career. 

  1. Know your why and determine your what.  

Your reason for considering a career pivot is fundamental in determining your new career path. Changing your career can be very challenging, regardless of how driven you are. Therefore, your new career path should be carefully considered so that your efforts can be sustainable.

Foremost, you need to ask yourself if you need a new career or a new job. More often than not, some of the reasons that make you consider a career pivot can be addressed if you get a new position in the same industry you currently are in.

If you have reflected and resolved the need to really pivot your career, then choose a new occupation that you feel will fulfill the needs and wants that your present job lacks.

Next, your decision to change has to be tested. Do you know what the reality of pivoting to this new career is? Will you mind a pay cut? Are you okay with starting at a lower position? Will you be dedicated to getting the education and skills you need in this new career?

If you are really confident of the positive responses to the questions above, we can move to the next step.

  • Create an action plan and skill up

A career pivot cannot be freewheeled. You need a concrete strategy that states your goals and lays out the tasks and the timeline to accomplish those goals. This is an action plan.

For an effective plan, research or set up informational interviews with hiring managers or recruiters about the new occupation you want to pivot into. You need to be familiar with everything it takes to get you there. This includes education, certification, and skills to be acquired.

The tasks to assign to yourself so as to get the required knowledge for this career should be stated in your action plan. The actions you need to take should also be on a daily or weekly basis to give a snowball effect. Your small steps compound, and gradually, you see yourself getting closer to being qualified for the occupation.

Remember to track your progress. Monitoring your efforts keeps you accountable and informs you of your strengths and the inadequacies you need to work on to keep up with your action plans. Tools like ClickUp and Strides are very excellent progress trackers. A simple Excel spreadsheet can also do the trick. 

  • Rebrand yourself professionally   

Crafting a new professional narrative for yourself is also essential. It is easy to neglect this. Rebranding yourself allows prospective recruiters or employers to see you as a fit for a role in your aspired occupation. You have to make that connection for them.

This includes writing a new professional resume tailored to your newly-acquired knowledge for your new career. This resume can also have your past expertise in your former career but should not include past experiences that will not serve you in the career you are looking to pivot into.

For example, if you are pivoting from a career in health to one in teaching, your new resume should include your degrees and certifications in your health career. However, only past experiences that exhibit or allude to your teaching skills should be displayed in them.

Cover letters and personal statements should also be rewritten. Your transferrable skills from your career should be sold there. Newly acquired hard and soft skills must be mentioned. Because you have competition, you have to brand yourself in a way that makes your pivot logical and makes you fit, or even perfect, for the available position.

Your profiles on business networking sites like LinkedIn should also be tweaked to position yourself for employment and make it known that you have pivoted your career. Remember to update your personal websites and business cards too.

  • Utilize your existing network and network more

Now that you have rebranded yourself, you need to go out there. Tap into your existing network; your friends and your former co-professionals. Inform them of your career pivot if they do not know about your professional rebrand yet.

Do not be afraid to ask for help from them. It could be as little as needing help with your child, so you can focus on your study or needing them to link you up with professionals in your new field.

Tweaking your social profile to convey your new career interests enables faster network growth. You can send out connection invites on LinkedIn and follow thought leaders in your new industry on social media. Attend networking events too.

These networks you acquire will come in handy when you need shadowing, internships, and volunteering opportunities that give you an edge over your competition.  

  • Apply, apply, and apply!

Applying for jobs as a new entrant should be easier with your network and some work experiences you might have gotten in the industry. Inform your network that you are looking to take up jobs. Because they are more experienced in the industry, they could point you to available opportunities or companies that need the services you can render.      

Job listings and professional networking sites are worth looking job for job opportunities.

We list jobs that pair job seekers with employers at the Professional Diversity Network. We seek to provide diverse professionals to employers who need them to meet the need of their increasingly diverse network base. Getting jobs after a career pivot is easier with our job listings. Check them out

In conclusion

Change is nerve-wracking, especially in essential parts of life as a career. But being religious with action plans, taking one step at a time, and showing up every day will surely get you the desired results.

It is your turn to do this, and you will be on the other side of your pivot—satisfied with your job— in no time.

Further Reading