Please rotate your device to portrait mode to sign up.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Please rotate your device to portrait mode to login
Welcome Back!
  Show Password
Forgot My Password
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
June 21, 2024

The Pivot: 4 Steps to a Successful Career Change

Post By:
Jo Stephens
In-House Contributor
CEO | Owner
Law Firm Sites, Inc
Guest Contributor:

In today's rapidly changing world, the idea of a single, lifelong career is becoming a thing of the past.  Women, in particular, may face unique challenges and opportunities when it comes to reshaping their professional paths.  Whether you're feeling unfulfilled in your current role, ready to explore new passions, or seeking greater flexibility, a career pivot can be a powerful tool for personal and professional growth. However, this can be easier said than done.  

It’s not uncommon to linger in periods of feeling “stuck”, while trying to navigate a transition and identify your first steps towards your new destination. If you’re feeling overwhelmed about how to “make the shift”, here are 4 steps that will get you from where you are, to where you want to go.

Join our community for member-exclusive content

Learn more about our community

Phase 1: Self-Reflection and Exploration

Psychologists have identified key mental shifts important for a successful career pivot. Carol Dweck's research on "growth mindset" highlights the importance of believing in your ability to learn new things and develop your talents.  Embracing this mindset helps you see challenges not as failures, but as opportunities for growth, which is essential for change. 

Begin your career reinvention journey with thoughtful self-examination. Ask yourself critical questions: What brings you genuine joy and fulfilment in work? And more importantly, WHY?

What are your strongest skills and talents? And in what industries and roles are they most ideal?

In what types of work environments and company cultures do you thrive? 

To delve deeper into your motivations and aptitudes, utilise personality assessments such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) or career interest tests.  Research diverse career possibilities using online resources, career-focused websites, and job boards – look for paths that resonate with your identified interests and skill sets.

Phase 2: Skills and Knowledge Development

Once you have a clearer vision of your desired direction, it's time to upgrade your toolkit. Start with a brutally honest skill gap analysis: compare your existing skills to the requirements common in your target field.  Where do you fall short?  

Next, get proactive about upskilling – invest in online courses, workshops, professional certifications, or even short-term degree programs to bridge these gaps and demonstrate your commitment. 

Finally, don't underestimate your network's power to support your professional development journey. Connecting or reconnecting with professionals in your network who are already established in your desired field can yield invaluable insights and perspectives. They can advise on essential hard and soft skills, industry trends, and even hidden knowledge crucial for success in that specific career path. 

Phase 3: Experimentation and Building Experience

Before making a full leap, dip your toes in the water. A "side hustle" approach lets you test-drive your new career interest. Freelance projects, volunteer work relevant to the field, or a part-time venture offer low-risk experimentation. 

Document these experiences meticulously – they form your new portfolio, demonstrating skills and adaptability. Seek mentorship from someone established in your target field; their advice and insights can be invaluable.  Guidance on career trajectory, combined with their network, might uncover opportunities you'd otherwise miss.

Phase 4: Making the Transition

When ready for a full pivot, ensure your marketing materials reflect your journey. Rework your resume and online profiles (especially LinkedIn) to reposition your personal brand and both highlight transferable skills as well as those newly acquired through upskilling and side projects. 

Your job search should be strategic – use targeted job boards catering to your desired field, and don't hesitate to leverage your network for leads and introductions. 

Finally, be realistic. You might have to start with entry-level or part-time roles in your new field initially. This approach builds industry-specific experience and facilitates a smoother, more sustainable transition.

Embracing the Power of the Pivot

If you find yourself unfulfilled, seeking fresh challenges, or desiring increased flexibility, don't let outdated notions of a linear career path or a fear of change hold you back. 

A successful pivot is built on a strong foundation.  Be realistic, embrace the learning curve, and view each step as progress towards achieving the fulfilling career you deserve. A career pivot isn't just about changing jobs; it's a powerful act of self-determination and an investment in your long-term growth and happiness.