Planning a Pivot? 5 Tips for Mastering a Career Change

How to Change Careers Without Going Back to School

As new budgets settle in place, companies all over the world are flooding job search platforms with open positions, seeking candidates who are exploring opportunities. With new budgets in place at the start of the year, business leaders are eager to find additional resources that can join their team in the journey to tackle new company goals.

This is also around the time that young professionals reach out to me expressing a feeling of being stuck and looking for ways to make a purposeful career shift in a completely different industry. After making my own professional pivot from TV to Tech, many are eager to understand how I made the jump without going back to school.

When I speak to transitioning professionals, I coach them on the tools to pivot and offer solutions that don’t involve expensive degrees or certifications. If you’re a transitioning professional, here are some quick tips to consider:

1 — Determine WHY you want to make a pivot

Unfortunately, making a pivot because the job looks cool just isn’t enough. You need to be really clear about why this is the next step in your career. What measurable impact do you expect to be able to drive in the role? What success metrics will you use to determine that this leap was the right move? Why is now the right time?

2 — Build Your Career Journey Path

Many people (myself included) have made the unfortunate mistake of being driven by job titles and financial compensation. Don’t get me wrong, those are very important but they aren’t everything. I’ve found that the most successful people are those that know their purpose and only explore opportunities that align them with that end goal. In short, they know the difference between a good opportunity and a purpose driven mission. Take time to draft out your career plan and be clear about how this pivot will help you reach the end goal.

3 — Do your research and understand the industry/role

Let’s face it: If you don’t know much about the job or industry that you’re trying to break into, you’ll have a really tough road ahead. When you interview with the hiring manager, there will undoubtedly be candidates from the industry with relevant prior experience who will catch their eye. You need to be able to compete with those already family with the work. To build that knowledge, subscribe to podcasts or news websites that are breaking down the information in snackable segments to ensure that you’re up on the latest.

4 — Update your resume

According to research, today’s recruiters skim resumes for an average of 6 seconds. That means you have just 6 seconds to make a lasting impression that leads to an interview. Knowing this, be sure to spend some time revising your resume to amplify notable proof points and transferable skills that demonstrate you have the ability to get ramped up in this new space. Also consider providing an executive summary that explains why you’re exploring the professional pivot.

5 — Make new industry connections

Just as the saying goes: “Your network is your net worth”. Leveraging connections will be an essential part of a successful pivot. I recommend spending time establishing new connections through conferences, industry events or mutual connections. Be purposeful in your outreach and work to determine how to make it a valuable use of their time as well.

This post was inspired by the Switch, Pivot or Quit Podcast interview featuring Lauren Legette, hosted by Ahyiana Angel. For more information and best practices, listen to the episode here.

She/Her | A west coast based Black woman in tech with a fiery passion to drive change. | Contact/Booking: booking@laurenlegette.com