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How to Leverage Your Skills to Make a Career Pivot

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How to Leverage Your Skills to Make a Career Pivot

One of the most common things we hear from people is that they feel stuck in a job or in a career that they’ve outgrown. That tragic sinking feeling of being immobile is unbelievably powerful and if you let it go unchecked it will define you.

The question is where to begin? That is often the first and biggest hurdle to making a career pivot for the better. Let’s walk through the steps.

Explore the possibilities

Change is scary but don’t let it paralyze you. Most people never take steps to explore even the possibility of a career change because they are terrified they may fail. Leading to the permanent feeling of being waist deep in career quicksand. Help!

Eliminate this roadblock by giving yourself permission to simply begin to explore the possibilities. You don’t need to commit to full scale change at the onset – just the idea that it might be possible.

The internet is full of tools to help you do this easily and quite efficiently. Sign up for job alerts from three to five websites (such as Glassdoor, Indeed or Beyond) and commit to 30 minutes every day of just reading about the possibilities.

Related: Take a Break at Work and Reap the Benefits

What are you moving toward?

The first step in getting un-stuck is to stop focusing on what you dislike about your current job or career. If you’re unhappy at your current situation – there is no need to obsess about it and use up valuable emotional energy that should be put to better use. Instead open your mind to the things that energize and excite you!  

Begin with your current position. What elements do you enjoy the most? Make a list. Include even seemingly minor facets such as preparing written summaries or facilitating meetings.

What types of activities energize you? We all have things that we care about more passionately than others. Perhaps you have an eye for detail and find importance in data integrity. In fact, you get worked up when others don’t share your level of commitment about these subjects. That’s the passion we’re talking about – identify it and build on it.

Now take some time to analyze what you’ve written on your list.

Identify your transferrable skills

Regardless of your field, you have transferrable skills. This is one of the most common misconceptions that lead most people to believe they are motionless on the career highway. There are many skills such as communications, project management, analysis and others that are transferable to any field. You probably already have a solid amount of experience for your next career move.

Research new careers

Once you’ve identified your likes and transferrable skills begin to look at your career options. Remember those job alerts – now start looking at them with a critical eye. You will be surprised to learn that there are disciplines, jobs and career paths out there that fit you.

Refine your searches and alerts using search engines in job boards that do some of the work for you. For example, maybe you are the go-to person to train new employees who join your department at your current workplace. You enjoy this this responsibility but your only opportunity to do this work is when a new person joins the firm. Build on this and save searches using terms like “training and development”. This may produce positions in HR or Program Management that you had never considered.

Fill any gaps

Let’s face it – we can all challenge ourselves to improve our skills to compete in the job market. We start by identifying skills that may be lacking and then making a plan to develop those skills. For example, are there certifications you should pursue or licenses you need to obtain? If so, what are the steps to obtaining them? Build out an action plan and get busy.

Do you need to ramp up certain skills? It might be as simple as taking an online course to increase your proficiency. The barrier to obtaining skills online is low, and the benefit is enormous as it translates into skills on your resume.

Make a plan

By now you should have a clear vision of what your professional future could look like. Write down your goal and make a list of the steps you’ll need to take to achieve it. You have a 42% greater chance of making your career move a reality when you write it down.

Make a list of tasks you’ll need to complete daily or weekly to successfully complete each of the steps on the way to your goal.

Now get busy doing it and leave any feelings of being “stuck” in the dust!

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