Are You Ready to Pivot Into a New Career?

Posted September 15, 2020 by Guest Poster -

Chellie Phillips is a career branding coach and creator of Successfully Ever After. She’s taken over 20 years of experience in career mentoring, HR and leadership development and provides straightforward advice designed with your career growth and professional development in mind. To learn more, visit her website at

Are you ready to pivot into a new career?

A pivot is an intentional movement. It’s a mechanism designed to make a turn. It’s changing directions while maintaining some continuity with a previous version. It’s something many of us feel necessary in our career life.

Perhaps you’re feeling unchallenged, bored, stressed, or unappreciated in your current position and dread getting up on Monday to go to work. Or perhaps, life has thrown you a curveball and you’ve been laid off or furloughed through no fault of your own.

In my opinion, thinking of a career change as an intentional decision, rather than something forced on you, will position you for success right out of the gate.

If you approach it from a point of desperation, you tend to make a rash decision that ultimately doesn’t align with your life or career ambition. Use the pivot as an intentional tool to discover new opportunities. Think of it as an open door to reimagining your skills, talents, and desires.

I understand how you feel because I’ve been there too.

I left a career after 20-plus-years when a management change made me feel like I wasn’t a valued part of the team anymore. Before that, I’d have told you I’d probably retire from there. Your reason could be something entirely different and can happen regardless of your age, bank account, or current position. Or the decision can be made for you if you face a sudden change like a layoff.

What DOES matter, is that you are intentional about your action plan.


If you feel a pivot could be right for you, before you make any decision, take some time and do a career inventory or assessment.

What do you have in your skills arsenal? What accomplishments should you include on your resume (yes, the one you haven’t updated in over 5, 10, or 15 years)? Are there any gaps in your skills you need to fill? If so, your first step might be to invest in some online courses to show a potential employer that even though your current position didn’t require XYZ, you’ve stayed current and relevant in today’s market.

If you need help knowing the questions to ask, here’s a FREE assessment you can use to begin looking deeper.

Any self-assessment should include developing a clear vision of what you hope to find.

Stop for a moment and really think about what your ideal career looks like. Keep in mind, it doesn’t have to look like the last job you held. Write down what you would enjoy doing each day. Make a note of the skills you enjoy using. What type of company do you see yourself with? How do they treat their employees? What are your co-workers like? Make this a stretch dream. If you could find any job in the world, what would you be doing? Or not doing?

Once you’ve done that, look back over your list. What skills do you have right now that can help you achieve that goal? What skills do you need to acquire? What types of businesses offer you the opportunities you seek?

Now determine what step you’ll make to start down that path.

As you begin investigating a career pivot, I want you to take a series of small steps instead of one giant leap.

With the decision to make a change comes inevitable roadblocks.

One major roadblock people face when making a career pivot decision is fear.

My clients tell me:
• I’ve got bills and a family to take care of so I should just stay where I am and tough it out.
• I’m not sure I should keep looking for exactly what I want, what if this is the only offer I get?
• What if my boss finds out I’m looking?
• What if no one else thinks I’m employable?
• People will think I’ve lost my mind for wanting to leave where I’m at.
• I have no idea where to start.

First, it is scary to think about leaving something you’re comfortable with.

It’s always unnerving to leave the known for the unknown.

But instead of focusing on the fear, stop and take a moment. If you think about it, the opposite emotion to fear is excitement. Both cause your body to do the same thing, just in different ways. I encourage you to feel the excitement there too. There’s a reason you are considering a pivot in the first place. Does thinking about new challenges make you feel energized? Does learning new skills feel intriguing? Instead of going into panic mode start by going into planning mode.

It’s really a mind shift.

You’ve got to have an internal conversation with yourself and believe you can have the career you want.

You deserve a career that is challenging, rewarding and provides financial security for you and your family. Find those positive cheerleaders in your life. Don’t surround yourself with those who can’t see beyond today.

If you’re ready to start the journey, I want you to make a real plan; one that has dates and accountability added in.

Your “pivot plan” needs to have real action items.

Consider these as you make your list:
• If you’ve been in your position for several years, consider taking a career assessment before making any major decisions. This tool will help you make sure you’re looking at the whole picture of your career experience.
• If your pivot involves entrepreneurship – include a financial milestone like have 6-9 months of savings in place before quitting my day job. Set a goal for how much monthly income you need to receive from your “part-time” side hustle to demonstrate it could turn into a full-time gig.
• If you plan to explore new industries – commit to each week reading 5 industry-related articles and researching potential companies. Set up informational interviews with people who work in those fields.
• If you plan to stay in the same industry – renew and revitalize your personal and digital network. Most job opportunities are never posted online. Make a point to have contact with “x” number of your contacts and grow those relationships.
• Set target dates to complete any training needed to make you more employable.
• Invest in creating a standout personal career brand. Set dates for updating your online profile, building a digital portfolio, creating a branding statement, and developing your career marketing material (cover letters, resumes, business cards, etc..).

Check out my free personal branding checklist for more information on developing your career brand.

Remember, a career pivot should be intentional. Setting goals and targets is one of the best ways to stay on track. Have confidence that your abilities and skills uniquely qualify you to add value to a company. Invest in you and your connections. Understand that not everyone will believe you’re making the right decision. Trust your intuition. When the timing or opportunity is right, you’ll be ready.

Your journey will be unique to you.

No two people will approach it exactly the same. Don’t expect the pivot to happen overnight, but with the right preparation, plan, and gumption, you’ll be in the seat of a career that offers you meaningful, energizing, and rewarding opportunities.

Want more career advice?

As a special bonus for the goal-getters and career-minded readers of, here’s a special edition of primed…an e-zine dedicated to career development.

Simply click the link, fill out the form with your email address, and a FREE copy will be sent to your e-mail box.

Take a moment to look at Chellie Phillip’s book “Get Noticed, Get Hired” 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Categories: Life As It Happens

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


* indicates required