Most of us reach a point when our existing career suddenly loses its spark. Perhaps the drivers that attracted us a decade ago no longer motivate us. Perhaps our priorities or life circumstances have adjusted. Maybe we have fresh ambitions or have learned more about our strengths and values?
Whatever the reasons, it’s perfectly natural to consider a career pivot. But for the best possible outcome, it’s vital to plan your pivot in the right way. Try these steps to set you up for success:
1. Ask, what do you want from your new career?
Are you looking for an intellectual challenge? Flexible hours? Creativity? Autonomy? A bigger salary? Define what’s driving the pivot and write them down. Can you achieve these goals within your existing career path, or is it time to move on?
2. Ask, Where are you coming from?
Look back over your career history to chart its course to date. This will help you to see a pattern of progress and direction and potentially pinpoint areas which could spark a new trajectory. Even if you already have your intended next steps, an analysis of your career history will allow you to start identifying where your transferable skills are; an essential for that fresh CV.
3. Know your risk tolerance
Significant career pivots, such as those which involve time spent away from paid employment to study, can involve a degree of risk. There are different ways of managing a career pivot and they don’t always require big steps. Some career pivots may just be too risky at certain times of your life; perhaps if you are responsible for earning your family’s income, or have caring responsibilities which make it difficult to go back to university full-time. In these instances, a longer timescale, a flexible approach or an adjustment to your direction of travel can pay off.
4. Consider your approach
A successful career pivot doesn’t necessarily require a huge, bold jump into the unknown. In fact, arguably, these kinds of sudden, significant shifts can be too risky. Consider making incremental gains and steadily progressing towards your intended future. Imagine if you made a 1% move towards your goal progression every day? Sometimes these small steps can become all the more powerful; allowing you to build sustainably on each step forwards, continually learning and adjusting as you go.
5. Have your contingency plans
Some of the most successful people have more than a Plan A and a Plan B. They go further and have a range of contingency and alternate scenarios that allow them to be flexible and to explore new possibilities. This kind of ‘slow but steady’ career pivot tends to avoid fatigue and also minimises risk. It offers all of the benefits that come with moving towards an intended goal, but without the stress and uncertainty of making a single, ‘all-or-nothing’ jump to a new career path.
6. Learn everything you can
Without all of the information that comes with knowing a new career, we risk jumping out of the frying pan into the fire! So in addition to contingency planning, be sure to invest plenty of time in learning as much as you can about your intended pivot towards a new career. Speak to people in the field, seek out an internship, and be open to hearing both good and bad.
7. Nurture your vision
Sometimes a career pivot can take time, especially if it involves you building up to your move. Create a mood board or find a personal method that works for you to nurture your vision and keep it fresh. This will keep you motivated and engaged when times get tough.
Get in touch
Ready to consider your career options? Why not book a call with Sarah today and make that first positive step towards your desired change.