The idea of a career change is daunting at the best of times. But in a world gripped by a global pandemic, with certain industries in crisis and the feeling of insecurity high, how do you identify the right career pivot? Whether you’re facing a forced career shift, or have taken this time as an opportunity to make a change, here are a few key tips to gaining clarity on the right direction to pursue.
It’s not what you’ve done – it’s who you are
The single biggest mistake people make when considering a career change is starting with their CV. I know this sounds surprising and it belies logic, but using your résumé to lead your thinking is largely unhelpful because it pigeonholes you. This is especially true if you’ve had a long career in a particular field or role, or if you need to move out of an industry that’s been hard hit by Covid. If you’ve spent years building expertise, contacts and know-how in one sector or discipline, it’s common to let the details of your career history dictate your available choices and narrow down your options. To avoid being trapped by this tunnel vision and get clear on the right path, the most effective place to begin is with a deeper dive into not just what you’ve done, but who you are.
It’s time to undertake a personal deep-dive
To identify your own career pivot parameters try answering the following questions:
– What are your values? Which principles underpin the way you need to live and work in order to be happy? Values can include family, happiness, health, humour, justice, passion, commitment or any other words that resonate with you. Pick up to eight values that reflect what’s most important to you. Then write down what they actually mean. What do they look like in action? What behaviours do they require of you or others? Then consider what your values mean in relation to your ideal role, working environment and the people you work with.
– What are you passionate about? What activities or topics absorb you so that you lose time when you’re engaged in them? What do you read, watch, listen to or do that keeps you captivated? Become a journalist in your own life for a couple of weeks, keeping a note of the things you are passionate about, so that you can then determine whether any of those things could be integrated into the work you might do.
– What are your strengths? What are you naturally talented at? What do people always tell you you’re good at? Identify your top five strengths and write down what your strengths mean you need from your ideal role and working environment, using the criteria as a filter for the right and wrong ideas.
– What are your skills? Which of your skills do you enjoy using the most? Make a list of all the roles you’ve had, both personal and professional. Then write down all the skills you use or have used in those roles. Then review all your skills and highlight the ones you enjoy using the most, keeping this list as a guide.
Whatever the driver for change, spending some quality time determining your own career pivot criteria will help shape the parameters of your thinking and guide you to make a right-fit choice.