How to pivot your career
If you are inspired by the stories of the Great Resignation where someone left their stable, but lusterless 9 to 5 only to land on a new career path that ignited their passions, you’re not alone. About 4.3 million people quit their jobs in January according to the U.S. Department of Labor to search for the job that ticks all their boxes, but for those with the majority of their career behind them is it too late to change their career course?
Absolutely not. In fact, there’s no better time to start a business or find that dream role with the broad range of jobs that have opened up to candidates thanks to fully remote options. Take it from me, after spending over two decades working in media at NBC, MTV, VH1, OPRAH, Warner Brothers, Viacom, and Universal and more than a decade of online entrepreneurship, I decided it was time for a career shift a few years prior to the pandemic.
Using the experience and knowledge I gained during those 20 years in my corporate media career, I was able to pivot fully into entrepreneurship juggling multiple businesses. I cowrote Clean Cocktails: Righteous Recipes for the Modern Mixologist in 2017 and with thriving PR and coaching businesses, I’m a prime example that it’s never too late to change career paths. Though change can seem scary, life is too short to pick one career that doesn’t fill your cup.
Focus on your core skill set
You may have a lot of ideas of what you want to do, but it’s essential to what skills can you leverage from your current job experience that you can apply to the industry of interest so you can monetize it. No need to reinvent the wheel either. If you are successful in your current industry, apply the knowledge you’ve gained from that success to your new industry or role. Even if those businesses are very different from each other there are always elements that you can utilize in order to maximize your experience and leverage that for life in a new lane.
If you don’t hone in on your core skill set and streamline your messaging you run the risk of confusing hiring managers or potential clients, and possibly losing an opportunity. Overwhelming your audience is never a good strategy, it leaves them distracted and unfocused. Try structuring your professional life into four ideas, four subject matters where you are the expert, and stick to those topics that pertain to the career opportunity. I talk about cocktails, creating your own possibilities, media, and wellness. That keeps me in line. I’m not going to start going after makeup and fashion opportunities, that would just confuse everyone. Even when you have contrasting brands you can still establish four main subjects to focus your efforts. This gives you guardrails to stay within and enables you to efficiently communicate brand messages to your audience.
Stay on track
It can be easy to get lost when looking for any kind of new job, especially in today’s job market. First, identify what is important to you including what is non-negotiable. For many this can be financial stability, a flexible work schedule, creative freedom, and much more. Make sure you are sticking to that list and looking for opportunities that fit the mold and in your core skill set.
Once you’ve established your career pivot and messaging around your experience, share it with everyone. When I meet someone they will know what I do by the end of our conversation. Of course, I keep it appropriate, I’m not going to gush about my most recent appearance on The Drew Barrymore Show at a funeral, but you need to be able to speak about your businesses openly and in different situations. Many people get their next role through referrals, so if you aren’t taking the opportunity to tell everybody what field you’re looking to get into they aren’t aware and they can’t refer to you.