The dawn of a new year brings an excitement of possibilities for the year ahead. It’s also a time to reflect on what’s happened in the past year.
Maybe you’ve decided that the dawn of the new decade is the time you’ll move home, go on a holiday of a lifetime or shake up your career?
Research by Glassdoor found that January is the month that most people think about making a change in their career, whether that be making a major change or pivoting in a new direction. The main reasons cited for this decision are; low salary (35% of respondents), needing a new challenge (23%), boredom (22%) and the length of the commute (20%).
If you’re looking to pivot your career in 2020, here are some strategies to help you make it a success.
First, though, let’s discuss what a career pivot is and how it differs from a career overhaul.
What Does It Mean To Pivot Career?
Jenny Blake had a successful career at Google as a Career Development Program Manager, before she left to launch her book, ‘Pivot; The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One.’
In her book, Jenny defines a career pivot as “doubling down on what is working to make a purposeful shift in a new related direction.” Jenny, adds, “It’s an intentional, methodical process for nimbly navigating career changes.”
Basically, a career pivot isn’t as dramatic as changing careers, where you could be starting your career from scratch. Instead, a pivot could be where you leave one company to join another doing a similar role. Or, it could be where you use your transferable skills to start a career in a new department with your current employer.
It’s no longer the norm for people to stay with the same company for life. Research by LinkedIn found that people switch jobs (not careers) on average four times within the first 10 years of graduating. That’s a new job every 2.5 years!
It’s not just the younger generation who are left feeling disappointed by their jobs. According to The Telegraph, one in 10 senior workers decide to make a change as they feel demotivated or unfulfilled in their career choice.
Career Pivot Strategies
A series of events could lead you to want to make a career pivot. Maybe you’ve been passed up for promotion? Or you’ve been reassigned to a new department, and you feel it doesn’t sit well with your skills?
The urge to make a career pivot can also take you by surprise; if you feel bored or stressed at work, a sudden feeling to make a change can prompt you to take action.
Whatever the reason, here are some strategies to help make your pivot a success:
Before you make a sideward step or move into a parallel industry, you must understand what is driving this change.
Like any audit, a career audit involves getting answers to a series of questions, such as:
- What are the good and bad points of your current role / career?
- What does your ideal career situation look like?
- What do you enjoy about your current role and what elements do you want to continue with?
- On the flipside, what bits are you happy to ditch?
- What qualities/skills do you bring to work?
- What skills are not being fully used?
- What would you lose by leaving your current workplace?
- What do you hope to gain by moving?
- What could prevent you from pivoting? e.g. money, location, skills
- How can you overcome these barriers?
- How will you know when you’re on the right track?
Starting the pivot before you fully understand the reasons behind it is a recipe for disaster which, in a couple of years, could leave you in a similar situation to what you currently face.
A huge plus of a career audit is that it can identify gaps in your skills that could be a barrier to you pivoting.
It’s better to be aware of this before you initiate change, as it could hold up your transition. For example, a recruiter or hiring manager could pick other candidates over you because they have a more complete skillset.
There are several ways of upskilling, including:
Ask For More Responsibility: your current employer may give you the opportunity to enhance your skills or gain new ones by agreeing to give you more responsibility. However, be prepared for rejection, as they may feel you’re not quite ready for it.
Turn this negative into a positive by asking them to explain what you can do to improve.
Put Yourself Forward For Team Projects: Getting involved with team projects is a great opportunity to cross-train with peers. If you have a good relationship with an individual, you could ask them to be your mentor.
For tips on how to get someone to agree to be your mentor check out our article ‘How To Ask Someone To Be Your Mentor’.
Volunteer: Step outside of your normal environment to learn new approaches and meet new people, all while doing some good.
Learn: Upping your knowledge doesn’t have to involve going back to school (unless you want it to?). You can reach out to your professional network for guidance.
The internet is flooded with webinars, podcasts, training courses (some for free), that you can download and watch at your convenience – on the commute, at lunch time or while working out at the gym, for instance.
Monetise a Hobby
As well as focusing on your skills as the base for your career pivot, how about focusing on your interests or hobbies to reshape your career
Finding your perfect career could be as simple as asking yourself, ‘What do I really love doing?’
Leaving a long-term job to start a career around an interest, can be risky, but it could also bring a wealth of happiness and pleasure. If you’re considering it, get advice from others who have done it before you, stick to what you know, make a plan and keep going – success isn’t guaranteed to happen overnight.
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