Artwork by: Aleksandra Zabnina
Considering a career pivot? You don’t need to make your head spin. Check out our article, and we’ll give you advice to consider if you want to pivot your career.
If you’ve reached a point in your career where you’re in need of a change, but don’t necessarily want to entirely switch industries or learn a new profession, then you should look at making a career pivot. Pivoting is not as large as a career change, but it’s still a big decision. We’ll tell you what this means and more while covering the following topics:
What is a career pivot?
When should you consider making a career pivot?
How to decide what pivot is right for you
A recent survey showed that nearly 25 percent of US workers want a new career path in 2023. And 33 percent said they are likely to switch jobs within the same sector, while 26 percent want to change careers.
The term pivot means something different from making a career change. A career pivot uses your current foundation of skills, knowledge, and experience, but you shift to a new role in a related direction. A pivot can involve changing what your current role does, moving to a somewhat different role in your company, or taking a similar role with another organization. If you’re wanting to go into an entirely different role, industry, or job field, then you’re making a career change. A career change also usually includes changing professions and may require a totally different skill set.
Pivoting your career may or may not be difficult to do. It really depends on how different the new role is from your current role. It will certainly be easier to pivot your career as compared to making a complete career change. You may have to acquire some new skills or additional education. Or, if you’re changing employers, then you may have to relocate or commute further. The new job may require more travel or schedule changes. These are all things to consider when thinking about pivoting your career.
The easiest way to pivot your career is by expanding your role or taking on new and different responsibilities, but staying in the same job or organization. Making this type of change may not even require a new title or position at your company. It could involve taking on more or different types of projects. Another type of pivot may include changing companies. For example, if you’re an accountant, and you want to do accounting for a different industry, then you go to work for a different company in the industry you're interested in. Another example would be if you work in commercial construction, and you want to switch to residential construction.
If you’re unhappy in your current job, then it may be time to think about making a change. Being unmotivated is another sign that a career pivot is in order. As we have already covered, pivoting your career is much simpler than a total change in professions.
It’s never too late to make a pivot in your career. Many people do this later in their careers. It can be a great thing to do to rejuvenate yourself and your career path. Many people successfully make career pivots later in life, even after retirement. Don’t let age stand in your way. If you’re needing a pivot, then go for it!
Before you jump into making a career pivot, you should seriously think about why, where, and how you should pivot your career. It could be a very big endeavor. First, consider your financial circumstances and personal life to ensure you're able to take the leap. Then you can consider other issues. Here are some things to help you decide on the best way forward:
Examine your motivations. Are you wanting to change jobs just because you’re not making enough money? Or are you bored? If either of these is true, then pivoting your career may not be the right answer for you. Maybe you just need a raise or a promotion. Likewise, if you’re just bored with what you’re doing, then consider asking your manager if they can give you something different or add responsibilities. Maybe changing organizations could make your job more interesting. If you’re motivated by other things (growth, opportunities, etc.), then continue assessing a pivot.
Talk to other people about it. Run your thoughts past people you trust. Especially people that are familiar with the type of pivot you’re considering. This could be people you work with, your boss, your friends, your neighbors, a mentor, and other people in the professional field. Get some other opinions and recommendations, so you can better weigh your options.
Think about where you want to go with your career. Why are you dissatisfied with your current career path? You need to understand this to determine what you want to do differently. Once you know what you don’t want to do, you will be better able to define what you do want to do. Then figure out what the right job for you is. This will also allow you to identify if you’re in need of a career pivot or a full-fledged career change.
Assess your skill set. Now that you know what you want to do, look at your qualifications. Do you have the necessary skills? Do you need more training or education? Is your experience level sufficient? These are all things to take into account because they’ll impact your career planning and timeline. Talk with colleagues and people that are in roles similar to what you’d like to do.
Study the job market. With your skill set evaluated, you can move on to looking for a job that fits the bill. If you’re making a small pivot that allows you to stay in your current job or take a similar role within your current company, then this will make your task much easier. If your plan requires you to find a new job, then you’re starting a job search. Your colleagues and others may be able to provide you with leads, otherwise, start looking at online job ads. See what jobs are available and determine if you’re interested and qualified.
Take your time. Don’t get in a hurry. Making a pivot may not be a huge change, but if you need more training, education, or experience to make your pivot, then your timeframe will need to be longer. It’s all about your long-term goals and aspirations.
Once you have an idea of the type of role you’re wanting to move into, then you can engage with the appropriate people to start making it happen. If you’re looking to stay with your current employer, then work with your management. Or you can talk to the HR department. They should be able to assist you with options and make recommendations. For those of you that have decided to move on to a different organization, talk to people in the target companies you’re interested in. They can advise you and potentially point you to job opportunities.
Making any significant adjustments in your career path can be a frightening prospect. But, if you’ve reached that point in your career, then think of it as ending one phase and moving into the next. It shouldn’t be terrifying at all, it should be exciting. Make that career pivot, and you’ll be glad that you did.
If you’re wondering how much money you should expect in your new pivoted career, then check out our salary analyzer to see what the current market rates are.
Pivoting a career doesn’t have to be scary.
Examine your career goals.
Find something that you want to do.
Investigate your opportunities and make a plan.
Don’t expect your pivot to be a fast change.
Go out and pivot your career in a new direction!
Garland is a writer and technology consultant that lives in far west Texas, USA. He is semi-retired from a successful 25-year career in the Information Technology industry, and now spends his time writing for various websites (mostly career development related). Garland holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance, and a master’s degree in Economics and Computer Information Systems.