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Top 7 Career Pivot Strategies

Our earliest musings of who we wanted to be started with big dreams and a few scoops of ambition.

What did you write down during the famous grade school question, “what is your dream job”? Did you ever follow through? Or, like many folks, are you committed to making ends meet and doing what feels comfortable?

If you're considering a career pivot, know that the best career change advice is the stuff that you feel in your gut. Like most big life transitions, we find ourselves with clammy hands and higher heart rates as we tend to the evolution of ourselves. 

While a career change can be overwhelming, if you do it right, you'll feel the level of liberation you've been seeking all along. Doing what you love or what you’re passionate about can make work feel less like work and often lead to a more fulfilling life.

Let's break down the top 7 career pivot strategies.

1. Take Stock of Your Skills

The best career advice is the stuff that comes from the heart of the human experience. Folks from older generations often speak admirably about the willingness and tenacity that later generations have brought to the job market.

Taking inventory of your career strengths and weaknesses can help you understand what kind of career and workplace you would thrive in.

Once you have an idea of how you work at a higher level, sit down and consider your transferable skills. There's a good chance that many of your strengths apply to tons of fields and career paths.

2. Learn How To Talk About Your Experience

Knowing how to talk about the work you'd love to do is tough when you're anxious to get started. Especially if you're coming from an opposite field.

Maybe you're a creative person looking to move into a software engineering role at a tech company. Selling yourself looks like honing in on those minute details and showing your interviewer how your knowledge and expertise can advantage a transition to a different kind of role.

For example, they both require intense attention to detail, organizational dexterity, and willingness to work in ambiguity. While those roles aren't in the same field, what's required of that position is an amalgamation of qualities and skills you may already have (plus some technical skills that you’ll need to learn).

3. Network

One of the best ways to support a non-linear career path is to network to get your foot in the door.

Maybe your neighbor's husband has a job at the organization you're hoping to work for someday. Ask questions about their role and their passion, and maybe even grab a coffee to connect with them directly. 

Your connections may be able to refer you for entry-level roles in a new industry, which saves you a lot of time and effort in wooing recruiters looking through your application. And there's nothing prospective employers love more than someone vouching for the chance they're taking on you.

4. Do Your Research

When you’re shifting your career path, it’s important to have some data under your belt. Success comes easy to the well prepared, and we can all stand to learn a thing or two about preparation.

If you’re interested in pivoting down a new path, set aside time to do some research about that field. The more you learn before you dive in, the better chance you have of enjoying the job later down the line.

Plus, the more information you have, the less likely you are to be surprised or disappointed if something unforeseen comes up. 

5. Make a Transition Plan


When you’re ready to leave your current role, it helps to have a transition plan to ease your exit.

If you know your role is extensive, giving your employer more than a two weeks notice may be appreciated. And while you don't owe that to anyone, that reference of loyalty and dedication could come in handy down the road.

Once you have a date in mind, look at your calendar to determine what needs you'll have to be mindful of during this transition. List keeping and categorizing can help the distracted brain maintain focus.

6. Continuing Education

When making a career transition, you’ll likely need some new skills to qualify for different roles.

Consider what your new career will look like. If there are classes or certifications involved, it's a good call to check out what those milestones look like. When you come to the table prepared, your future self will be so grateful for your hard work.

Unfortunately, online courses or advanced degrees can be very expensive. Budgeting can be an incredible source of stress. Glancing ahead at your next paydays, preparing for a lapse in income, and getting creative with your time might save you the hassle of chaos that comes with any transition.

7. Practice Makes Perfect

A career change can be an exhilarating experience, be it reinvigorating your love for an old craft or fostering some warm feelings for a new one. You must be willing to radically accept the no's and fly high on the yes's.

When you combine education and experience, you afford yourself the chance to excel in ways that others aren't able to. So when you sit down for that first interview, be confident. Your career is yours alone and you are capable of making any change you want.

Gear Up & Head Out

Now that you've got your strategy aligned, it's time to make this change come to fruition. Though a career pivot can feel like a balancing act, you are the one who gets to decide which hand catches the next ball.

You work hard to play hard, and you might as well be somewhere doing something that you love. If you're considering courses and exploration into who and where you want to be, head over to our site to learn more about your work styles and personality.

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Dave Fano

Dave Fano

Founder and CEO of Teal, Dave is a serial entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience building products & services to help people leverage technology and achieve more with less.

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