How to plan a long-awaited career pivot

By Rena Nigam

February 18, 2022
How to plan a long-awaited career pivot

The last two years have been a time of unprecedented growth in many industries. The pandemic initially led to layoffs, decreased hiring and a shift to a more remote workforce. However, this year, with the increased availability of vaccines and rapid economic growth, companies around the world are not just hiring again, they’re hiring at rates never seen before. Additionally, many candidates who put off searching for new jobs during the initial part of the pandemic are now prioritizing their job hunt. With companies facing poor retention and big hiring needs, the demand and supply gap has skewed towards candidates. This candidate’s market won’t last forever, so if you have big career goals, this is your year.

Choose a high-growth industry

This is a great year to reskill to a high growth function or switch to a new industry. Some industries, like entertainment and tourism have been decimated by the trends of the pandemic, with some lost jobs not expected to return any time soon, if at all.

Yet other industries have seen growth that seems to be enduring, like technology services, healthcare, cybersecurity, marketing, and more. LinkedIn’s recent “fastest growing job title” report shows a heavy STEM focus.

If you’re looking for a job with strong upward mobility, switching to one of these industries can help you find it. An industry with strong long-term prospects will continue to grow and expand, allowing employees to find new opportunities within their companies and fields. In a year where these industries have more open jobs than candidates to fill them, companies will be more likely to take a chance on someone without industry experience.


Switch to a new industry

If you are looking to switch to a new industry, focus on your adjacent and transferable skills. Your soft skills (communication, organization, leadership, collaboration, etc.) are all relevant to any job you apply to. Beyond that, look for overlap in your current position. If you’re currently working in finance, look for a financial technology company. If you’re in healthcare, look for job openings in healthcare technology, and the same goes for real estate, education, manufacturing, hospitality, etc. This way, you can emphasize your adjacent experience to the new opportunity.  

After looking for overlap, maybe you’ll realize that your long term goal to work in a new function in a new industry is a two-step process. Smaller steps are more manageable than larger ones. So if you’re on a marketing team right now, but would like to become a technologist, maybe first look for marketing opportunities at technology companies. This will help you gain exposure to opportunities within the industry, and working adjacent to the kind of job you want will help you understand how to make those dreams a reality.

Remain vigilant for learning opportunities 

Lastly, be open to any and all learning opportunities. As Vanita Pandey, CMO of Arkose Labs said, “Learning is so important. If you believe you know everything about a specific industry then you’re wrong. I’ve been in this industry for years and every single day I have learning moments. You have to be open to every learning experience that presents itself to you. It’s important to be comfortable with not knowing everything.” All learning opportunities are valuable. Take classes, read books, get engaged on LinkedIn, listen to podcasts, reach out to contacts for coffee. When applying, emphasize your enthusiasm and willingness to learn as well as all the work you’ve already done. This is a time where companies are more willing to bring someone on with less experience, and the work you do before you apply will greatly increase your chances of landing a job in that new field.  

All this also applies to returning to the workforce after a break. With far more open jobs than people to fill them, companies aren’t just willing to hire outside of their industry; they’re going to need to. If you position yourself as committed, engaged, and enthusiastic about what they do, eventually you’ll find an opportunity.  

Remember to focus on what you have, not what you don’t have, and good luck applying.

Rena Nigam is the founder and CEO of Meytier, a company focused on improving diversity at scale through a technology-based approach.

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