Have you ever thought – I want to make a career pivot, but I don’t want to start over?
If you have, you’re not the only one.
This is what I hear from Work Bigger readers all the time: “If I’m going to make a career pivot to something more meaningful, something’s gotta give. I’ll have to give up my pay or start at an entry level position.”
But maybe not.
When I hear this, I think: You’ve already decided your future before even exploring an alternative, and if your ideal scenario (career pivot + more money + better title) is possible.
Underneath this assumption is the idea that you can’t have it all and what you want isn’t possible. I call this black and white thinking. It’s either A or B. It can’t be both.
This is really common. We’re often told to be “realistic” – which I get, but honestly – that kills creativity.
This type of thinking will stop you in your tracks.
Think about it – does it feel good to tell yourself you have to make less money to find meaning, growth and happiness?
And even worse, it stops you from taking action to explore possibilities!
Let’s change this right now. Here’s how to give yourself the best chance possible to get anything you want.
1. Gather information
When you feel stuck, your brain is experiencing an impasse. You lose momentum because you can’t see where you’re going. Your brain is a computer that craves certainty.
On the contrary, when you have an insight and experience clarity, your brain releases dopamine. This motivates you to take action – which in this case can mean networking, applying for jobs and stepping out of your comfort zone.
The best way to move through the impasse is to write out what exactly has you feeling stuck.
Start by making a list of all the questions that you have about making a transition to a new industry. Don’t hold back. List everything that comes to mind.
This could include:
- With my background, what do I need to show to move up in this industry?
- What are the skills they value the most?
- What gaps do I currently have on my resume?
- What’s the pay in this new industry?
- Where do I reach out for these opportunities?
Then make a list of all the people you know in that industry and reach out to them. Share these questions with them and see what they say.
2. Focus on how you added value to the job (stop talking about the task)
As you’re moving through your exploration process, there’s a lot that will need to happen in between. From the information you gather, you’ll need to decide if the move is right for you. Do the opportunities you’re seeking exist? Does the pay align with what you need?
If you decide to go ahead with your career change, one of the most important steps you can take is to communicate your value powerfully. The best way to do that is to focus on the impact you created. Impact is transferable.
For example, I often see people listing out tasks on their resume. “Wrote analytical reports…”
This will tell the employer what you did, but it doesn’t highlight the value you created. And what you did may not be transferable in this case because you’re looking to do something different.
Impact, on the other hand, can help the employer see how you can add value for them.
So rather than focusing on the task, speak to what that analytical report did. “Supported the company with scaling through analytics and data.”
See the difference?
Now I’d love to hear from you: If you’re exploring a career pivot, what’s one thing you can put into action today?
Stay accountable to your growth and your goals. Share your thoughts and next steps in the comments below.