How to make a career pivot by adapting your expertise

Looking for a lifestyle change? Or just want to do something different for a living? Find out how to make a career pivot by adapting your expertise.

As we reach different points in our lives, our priorities change. Many of us are looking for flexible work in order to achieve work-life balance, and this could mean making a career change. 

Making a change to your career does not necessarily need to be drastic. You could take the professional expertise you have built up in your career so far and adapt this,   purposefully shifting in a new but related direction. This is known as a career pivot.

A career pivot could mean focusing on one element of your previous career or it could mean taking your expertise into a different industry or adapting your career structure to find a flexible role. 

Consider whether a career pivot is right for you

If you would like to return to work after parental leave or an extended career break but cannot go back to your previous role a career pivot could help you. A pivot can also be useful where you are back at work and feel disengaged, unfulfilled or have simply fallen out of love with the work you do.

Making a career pivot is less risky than a complete change to your career but in order to make it a success, you’ll want to make sure you get your planning right. Below are some steps you can take to do this.

Career breakdown

Over your career to date, you will have built up a whole host of skills, knowledge and expertise. It can be helpful to reflect on the roles and responsibilities you have held.

You could use your CV, LinkedIn profile or previous job descriptions to help you with this. Brainstorm the tasks and responsibilities from your last couple of key roles to get you started.

Start to think about which elements you could take forward either on their own or in combination to create a career pivot. 

Pivot to a job you love

Spend some time thinking about which elements of your past roles you enjoyed and were passionate about. We all have parts of our jobs we dislike or even dread and this is an opportunity to get rid of those for good! Which role elements did you enjoy? What were you excited about? Which elements boosted your energy levels? 

Focus on these energy-boosting elements when making a career pivot to create a new job you enjoy.

Identify and close skills gaps

There may be gaps between where you are now and where you want to pivot to. How can you take the next steps and gain any missing skills or experience to make your career pivot?

You might consider taking online classes or completing professional certifications or picking up freelance or volunteer work.

Use your existing networks to find an ‘expert’, i.e. someone who is already doing what you want to do. Most people are happy to share their experience and give advice.

Work to close the gaps in your skillset and prove that you have the capability to do the work you want to do. 

A career pivot can be a welcome opportunity to modify your existing career path whilst still using your expertise. A pivot can help you shift into a new fulfilling role you enjoy and give you the work-life balance you deserve.

Ready to relaunch your career after kids? Becky Willding-Jones and Rachel Veal, Co-Founders of Coaching Partners run a four-week online course to help you design the flexible career you want.

Photo by Derek Thomson