January 28th, 2021

How to pivot to a new career

Are you thinking about a career change? For many people the pandemic has triggered a reappraisal of how we earn a living - our values may have altered or our jobs disappeared. 

This can be overwhelming, especially if we need to find a new direction quickly.  It is easy to feel paralysed - to underestimate our skills and the options available.  But it is all to play for. 

Follow these steps to take your career in a new direction: 

1. Perform a skills audit: first identify your transferable skills i.e. your core professional competencies which could be applied to a new role or industry. List every job, volunteering experience, academic achievement and professional accomplishments along with the skills you developed in each setting. Do this with a positive mindset - it's not the time to be modest and ask a supportive friend/colleague or coach to help you. Then list the 5 best transferable skills i.e. the things you are great at and love to do. Rank them in order of importance. 

2. Do your research: in the midst of a job search it's easy to succumb to self-doubt and panic that there is nothing out there for you.  Research organisations in which your top 5 skills could add value.  Look on job sites, Linked In, ask friends/colleagues and read publications that relate to your field of interest and check out websites of companies that interest you.  Look at industries that are growing because growth means opportunity. Current areas of growth include digital and tech, delivery, online learning and renewables. 

3. Refocus your skills: set your imagination free. With your top 5 skills and roles/organisations where they might fit, start brainstorming how to combine and apply them. Be expansive - there are no wrong answers because this is a creative process. For example if you are a facilities manager who organised your office refits, you might have "project management" and "interior design" on your list of industries where those skills might be appropriate. You could look at opportunities with interior design companies to apply your project management skills and oversee office refurbishments. Connect with people in these industries to find out more details and build up networks. 

4. Bridge the gaps: it can feel as if you are falling at the first hurdle if the job you want requires qualifications you don't have but gaps in your skills are inevitable. You only need 70% or fewer of the skills or attributes listed on a job spec to apply for that role. Focus your thoughts on what you have got to offer as an employer may look beyond a qualifications gap if you have impressive and relevant skills.  You can also look at affordable options if further training will make you a more compelling candidate. 

5. Refine your choices: this is where it gets granular.  Divide a blank sheet of paper into 3 columns - Plan A, Plan B and Plan C. In the first column write down your ideal role.  This should be a realistic, achievable goal e.g. a product manager at Google. Under Plan B, write your "good enough" outcome e.g. product manager at a smaller company or a more junior role at Google that gets you in the door. Under Plan C, write what you'll do if you don't achieve Plan A or B e.g. learn a new skill, gain work experience or go freelance.  Remember that people often assume that their new career should be wildly different from the one they are leaving but the opposite is often true and a slight shift in thinking can take you down a new but parallel road with greater opportunities down the line. 

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By Mary Murray | Posted in: Personal Development , Personal Development , Personal Development , Personal Development , Personal Development , Personal Development , Personal Development , Personal Development , Career , Career , Career , Career , Career , Career , Career , Career | 0 Comments

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