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A Complete Step by Step Guide on Changing Careers

Are you thinking of changing careers? Understandably, you might feel anxious about this decision. Changing your career is a huge risk, but it can be advantageous when done right. All you need to do is learn how to career change the right way. 

After the Covid-19 pandemic, many companies were short-staffed. This was mainly because many companies switched from traditional brick-and-mortar locations to home-based offices. In addition, most companies that couldn't survive the lockdown had to lay off their workers.

Now that things are getting back to normal, many companies have started hiring all over again. Remember, the great resignation has also increased the demand for workers in different industries. So if you're wondering whether it's safe to change careers, there has never been a better time. 

Without further ado, let's dive into the details. 

Steps to Successfully Pivot Your Career

It's important to understand that pivoting your career doesn't mean taking a complete U-turn. Instead, it means using the skills you've obtained from your current job and applying them in a different field. Here's how to go about it. 

Take Time to Reflect

Before pivoting your career, consider what motivates you. For example, do you want to pivot your career because you dislike your current job? If so, do you specifically dislike the job, employer, or employees? If you dislike your current job, consider changing employment, but not your career. But if you don't like your entire career, it might be necessary to switch to a new one. 

List Down Your Skills

You can decide which specific skills are transferable to a new career by listing your primary skills. For example, some employers prefer candidates with strong writing skills. Highlighting your skills also helps you create a great resume or cover letter for your new career. 

Think About Your Preferred Job

Consider what you'd describe as your ideal job. Review the skills you've listed in the section above if you're not sure where to start. Then, look up jobs that require those specific skills. For instance, if you have strong math skills, here are some jobs that require such a candidate. 

Plan Your Next Move

After identifying your next career move, consider the specific requirements for that particular job. For example, other than the required skills, find out the necessary academic qualifications. This will help you plan your study time, including tuition, specific schools to join, etc. 

Begin The Transition

The transition begins when you start implementing your plan, such as taking courses needed to land that specific job. However, suppose you don't need additional certification or training to pivot your career. In that case, move on to the next step.

Begin Networking 

Start marketing yourself to prospective employers in the new field. Consider attending informational interviews, reaching out to role models, connecting with professionals on LinkedIn, or even seeking a career coach for the best results. You can also check out these expert-approved tips for speeding up your job search to learn more. 

Don't Move Too Fast

Your new career path may come with unexpected challenges. To be sure that it's what you're looking for, consider starting with smaller gigs. Don't commit to full-time employment just yet. Instead, take time to work on smaller projects and decide if you really like the new career. 

Reinvent Yourself

If convinced that you're on the right career path, you might need to rebrand yourself. For example, consider updating your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, etc. This ensures that your new credentials reflect your suitability for the new career. 

What Are the Best Ways to Pivot Into an In-Demand Job?

It's important to have an action plan to pivot into an in-demand job successfully. In summary, here are some questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Are you happy with your current role?

  • What are your interests, skill set, career goals, and core values?

  • What careers do you want to consider?

  • Who are the potential employers for that specific job?

  • Do you have an action plan to pivot careers?

  • If required, are you willing to go back to school to learn new skills needed to land the new job?

  • Are there any option positions in your current industry you may be interested in? 

  • What is the future of the in-demand career? 

How Do You Pivot Mid Career?

You can successfully pivot mid-career if you have the right plan. The good thing about shifting mid-career is that you won't be starting from scratch. Here are some tips to guide you through the process. 

Consider your current career field and whether you're happy. Would moving up the career ladder make you happier, or do you want to change careers altogether? If you'd like to move up the ladder, consider talking to your supervisors about it or applying for a different job in the same field. 

If you decide to pivot within your current company, here's what you need to do:

  • Conduct thorough research on your preferred role

  • Volunteer for projects or opportunities other teams might need help with

  • Meet with internal hiring managers to discuss the new role you may be interested in

  • Evaluate your current skills and decide if they match the new role

  • Maintain a positive attitude and professionalism to increase your suitability for the new position, even if you're unhappy with your current role 

If you decide to change your entire career, consider everything you'll need to make the U-turn. In most cases, you'll need additional training and certifications. For this reason, formulate an action plan highlighting the requirements for the new industry you're considering and how you plan to obtain them.

How Many Times Does the Average Person Change Careers?

Statistics show that the average person changes careers between 10 to 15 times in their work history. So if you're feeling guilty or disappointed about changing your careers, you can rest easy knowing that it's perfectly okay. In fact, it's never advisable to stick to a career that you're not passionate about or doesn't bring out the best in you. 

7 Tips to Help You With Your Pivot

  • Evaluate your current role and your satisfaction

  • Make upskilling/education a priority

  • Consider jobs in the same industry

  • Shadow a professional in the career you want

  • Use volunteering to gain the necessary experience

  • Look at market trends to inform your next career transition

  • Build your LinkedIn presence 

5 of the Best Jobs to Pivot Into This Year 

As mentioned before, it's crucial to choose a career that can guarantee longevity. The last thing you want is to switch to a career you'll need to change a few years down the line. So while there are plenty of careers worth considering in the job market, here are some of the most promising career options.  

Project Manager

Project manager average hourly salary: $38 

A project manager plans, procures, and executes a project in a particular work environment. Project managers are always in demand regardless of the industry. Some of the key responsibilities of project managers include: 

  • Leading teams

  • Establishing goals

  • Communicating with team members, company stakeholders, etc

  • Solving problems as they arise

  • Evaluating project performance

  • Planning and developing project ideas

  • Monitoring project progress 

The requirements to become a project manager varies from one career to another. But in most cases, employers promote their in-house employees to manage different projects within the organization. 

You don't necessarily need a college degree to become a project manager - there are plenty of ways to obtain the required training and experience. For example, Google offers a 100% remote, online-based free project management training program that doesn't require any relevant experience. 

Benefits Specialist

Benefits specialist average hourly salary: $32 

As a benefits specialist, your main responsibility is to administer a company's employee benefit and compensation programs. This includes retirement plans, life insurance, health insurance, etc. Additional duties and responsibilities of a benefits specialist include:

  • Analyzing, researching, and administering healthcare plans and wellness programs

  • Advising workers and enrolling staff in benefit and compensation programs 

  • Resolving disputes regarding worker's benefits and compensation

  • Appealing decisions made by insurance companies

  • Processing paperwork, specifically FMLA absences, disability, worker life status changes, etc.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, most employers require candidates with a Bachelor's degree in business, psychology, communications, or social science for this role. However, with some experience in a relevant field, you can become a benefits specialist if you have great analytical, communication, business, and critical-thinking skills. 

Administrative Assistant

Administrative assistant average hourly salary: $19 

Administrative assistants help organize, manage, and run an office. Depending on the work environment, this individual might also be responsible for organizational and clerical tasks such as:

  • Scheduling appointments

  • Organizing and preparing essential documents

  • Welcoming and assisting office visitors

  • Creating reports and managing inventory

  • Assisting other members of the staff

  • Internal and external communication

You don't necessarily need a college degree to become an administrative assistant - most employers promote from within. However, you'll need relevant experience, a high school diploma or GED, knowledge of specific computer software, and industry-related certificates. In addition, if you're considering pivoting into this career, it'll help if you have accounting and data entry skills. 

User Experience Designer

User experience designer average hourly salary: $44

A user experience designer makes a product or service usable, enjoyable, and accessible. This individual is often referred to as a UX designer in some fields, especially tech-related. Some of their essential duties and responsibilities include:

  • Understanding the user's preferences, the brand, and its goals

  • Conducting user research, including needs, behaviors, goals, etc

  • Analyzing data from research to create solutions 

  • Designing site maps, prototypes, or wireframes of the final product

  • Conducting user testing to determine product efficiency

  • Presenting final design to client or company

You don't need a degree to become a UX designer, although some employers might prefer candidates with an associate's degree in a particular field. Some of the most transferable skills for a user experience designer include communication, collaboration, and critical thinking. You'll also need technical skills such as information architecture, wireframing, research, and prototyping. However, you can learn most of these skills by taking short courses online relevant to that specific job. 

Social Media Specialists

Social media specialists' average hourly salary: $25 

Also referred to as social media strategists, social media managers, digital engagement specialists, or online community managers, these individuals communicate with the public through social media platforms. They manage their employer's social media accounts to build brand reputation and customer engagement. Other job duties and responsibilities for social media managers include:

  • Posting content, such as text, images, and videos on social media

  • Scheduling posts on social media

  • Responding to client feedback on social media

  • Interacting with clients on social media

  • Keeping up with the latest digital trends to create social media strategies

  • Collaborating with marketing consultants to promote brands online 

You don't need a college degree to become a social media specialist - all you need is a minimum of a high school diploma. However, additional training in social media management makes you competitive in the job market. If you'd like to pivot into this career, you'll also need skills such as creativity, communication, familiarity with all major social media platforms, organization, writing, marketing, etc. 

The Bottom Line 

It's perfectly okay and normal to change careers if you're not happy with your current position. However, when switching careers, it's crucial that you first consider whether you're unhappy with your current job or the profession itself. 

Pivoting careers is a huge decision. For this reason, make sure you have an action plan before making your next move. Lastly, when you finally decide to move, don't commit to the new career entirely until you're sure it's your dream job.

Katy Boyles |
Katy is our Social Media Manager at Snagajob, where she loves talking to hourly workers and employers all day long. Her first hourly job was as a hostess.