Today I welcome to the BRAND New You show Lynda Spiegel founder of Rising Star Resumes.
Lynda is a human resources and communications professional with over 14 years’ experience in sourcing, recruiting and hiring top talent in a variety of industries.
At Rising Star Resumes Lynda helps her clients develop their professional brand in order to get noticed by headhunters and hiring managers.
In her role as a career coach Lynda works with mid-career professionals who often are seeking to change careers from one field to another.
Lynda offers some unique insights, thoughts and strategies around how to make a successful career pivot.
So today we are going to have a straight forward discussion about the realities and unvarnished truths of what it really takes to make career pivot.
WHAT IS A CAREER PIVOT
Lynda’s definition of a career pivot is when you want to turn around and do something somewhat radically different, say going from being a teacher to being an attorney.
She came to this definition after going through a couple of career pivots in her own career. She started working in equity compensation which she did for several years until one day the company was sold and Lynda very quickly found herself without a job.
After moving to a few different jobs Lynda once again found herself in the middle of a corporate takeover. Like many her position she tried multiple times to find a new job in the same field but with no luck.
After months of searching her son, a hiring manager for his company, gave her the unvarnished “truth” that, “No one was hiring their mothers.”
This was a wake up call for Lynda who decided to put her HR skills and knowledge to work for herself and started Rising Stars Resumes.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IT’S TIME TO MAKE A CAREER PIVOT
Lynda regularly speaks with clients who want to make a career change or pivot. Their reasons vary but a lot of them fall into these buckets:
“I’m no longer happy doing what I do.”
“My work is no longer fulfilling.”
“I’m not making the kind of money I want to make or thought I would be making.”
“I’m stuck but I don’t know what I want to do.”
Any of these found familiar? If so rest assured that you are not alone. Fortunately in today’s podcast Lynda hits us with some unvarnished truth about the career pivot process.
So if you’re considering a career pivot, I’ve broken the show down into the 6 key steps you’ll need to follow in order to make a successful career pivot.
6 STEPS TO MAKE A SUCCESSFUL CAREER PIVOT
1 – Identify the career you want to pivot into
Sounds easy I know and hopefully it is however, in many jobs there are levels or tangents associated with specific careers. Identify which ones are right for you and most closely match your skill set.
Prepare yourself mentally for a long road. Career pivots don’t happen overnight but instead are the result of careful planning and execution on your part.
2 – Do you have the skill set today to make the pivot
Whether you are looking at a pivot to something similar or completely different, you will need to assess yourself and your skills for fit. If you find you do not have the required skills for the position you seek you will need to learn them.
These new skills can be gained in a variety of ways including volunteering, going back to school, taking an internship or apprenticeship.
PRO TIP: If you are unemployed put any volunteering activities on your resume. You do not have to disclose if the position was unpaid and it will fill a gap that would otherwise appear on your resume.
3 – Be ready to accept an entry-level position
Employers will be reluctant to hire older workers (Gen Xers for example) for an entry-level positions. In addition, you as the candidate will be competing against recent college graduates or individuals with just a few years of experience.
In either case you need to prepare yourself for the very real possibility of a decreased salary. This can be a hard pill to swallow for some. Ask yourself and be honest with the answer, can you really afford to live on an entry-level salary?
4 – Determine if you can pivot internally
The ideal way to make a pivot is by moving to a new position within your current company. Identify the department or position you want work in and reach out to the people who work there now.
If you can develop a relationship with them it’s possible because you are a known quantity, you may be able to pivot into a role in the department at the same or very similar salary.
This is how I made my career pivot 7 years ago. After fifteen years in supply chain management and operations I was able to successfully pivot into a product management role.
5 – Network like crazy
Networking isn’t about getting as many people as possible on your contact list. It’s all about developing relationships which mean you will need to develop a robust network.
If you determine your only course of action is to pivot externally to a new company, Lynda reminds us that networking will be critical to your success.
It’s estimated that 75% of all new jobs are filled by networking. Because this is a new career path for you, you do not want to send your resume through the applicant tracking systems.
You need to find someone in the company who will go to bat for you and talk to the hiring manager on your behalf. Use the social media tools at your disposal, such as Twitter, to help you find those individuals you can reach out to and connect with.
NOTE: This will take time. To develop a relationship via social platforms will not be quick. Start building your network now before you need it.
Once you find these individuals engage with them. Leave comments on their blog, chat with them on Twitter or other social networks. Just don’t ask for a job right away.
Lynda gives an excellent example of how one of her clients was able to use networking to get a new position.
6 – Create what you want to do and show it to the world
Build a website. Use the website to highlight or showcase the expertise you have gained or are gaining in the area where you want to pivot.
On the website you can demonstrate the skills needed for your desired position in a manner that will help the hiring managers see what your work would be like if they were to hire you.
As an example Jad Limcaco uses his website to demonstrate his design skills by “redesigning” popular websites. He selects sites he uses and walks his readers (potential employers) through his thought process explaining why we made the changes and how he believes they are better.
This is an excellent way to demonstrate your capabilities while showing potential employers the work they can expect should they decide to hire Jad.
NOTE: I do not Jad but I find his work exceptional and it happens to be a perfect example for this step in the career transition.
The Best way to get in touch with Lynda is via the following methods.
Web: Rising Star Resumes
Lynda’s Article on Talent Culture: HERE
Lynda leaves us with these final thoughts on Career Pivots.
“Before you decide to work with a career coach or resume writer ask them how much experience they have on the other side of the desk.”