Career pivot concept graphic of a businessperson jumping from a red dot to a green dot on a beige or off-white background.
Image: © jozefmicic/

Here’s what you need to consider before making a career pivot

26 Jun 2023

What do you need for a successful career pivot? As well as persistence, resilience and adaptability, a good support network and thorough research.

Whether you’re two years or 22 years into your career, a pivot can be a very daunting prospect. There are so many variables to consider: upskilling costs, time, what industry will be right for you and whether you can realistically get a job out of it.

It’s no wonder a lot of people simply don’t bother with a big change. But if you don’t feel happy with the industry or role you currently have, it can be a load off your mind to reconsider what you want to be doing.

We have spoken to lots of people who have changed careers and none of them told us they regret it. There was the philosophy graduate whose interest in AI led her to a career in tech and the software developer who made the switch from accounting.

If you’re thinking of following in their footsteps, the following pointers may help you to get your thoughts in order.

Know why you want to move

Once you have figured out the reason you want to switch careers, the easier it will be to light a proverbial fire under yourself if you’re the sort who needs encouragement.

Ask yourself some questions like: What do I want to do every day? What motivates me? What kind of things am I passionate about and how can I make a career out of them? What kind of environment do I want to work in?

Thinking about the answers to these questions will give you an idea of what your end goal might be.

Do your research

In order to figure out what steps to take in between where you are now and where you want to get to, you will have to put in some hours researching.

Figure out the best industry or job area for you and also find out who’s hiring where. publishes hiring list round-ups for various sub-sectors of the sci-tech industry quite regularly. The most recent one lists companies hiring in Ireland for automation roles.

Evaluate your skillset

If you’re coming to a job with a lot of previous experience in another area expect to be asked about it possibly even before you get to the interview stage.

Be able to make a case for yourself and why you are a good fit for the industry you are hoping to join. Look at the skills you can transfer to other industries and identify gaps and figure out how to address those.

Build a support network

You can’t do it all on your own. Support and guidance are very important for your professional development.

When you’re doing your research, think of anyone you know who might be able to help you break into a new career. Use LinkedIn and gather professional connections in person to build up your network over time.

Rewrite your CV

Tailor your CV and cover letter to address the fact that you’re changing careers. Make your previous experience an advantage. Tell prospective employers what you can bring to the table and what your transferrable skills are.

Gain practical experience

It can be difficult to get hands-on experience, especially when you’re moving into uncharted territory but the more you get, the better. For one thing, it shows you’ve tried something out and stuck at it. It also helps to give yourself an idea of what it’s like working on a project in that field.

In terms of tech, there are lots of short courses you can do online to give yourself a taster.

Keep learning

Learning is a continuous process in pretty much all industries, but when you are pivoting in your career, take it into account that you will need to do extra learning for a while. In the long run, it will stand to you as you progress in your new role.

Embrace change

Change is scary and pivoting into a whole new sector requires persistence, resilience and adaptability.

Don’t let yourself get too disheartened if something goes wrong or if you face a bit of pushback from people. You will get there in the end.

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Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea joined Silicon Republic in 2021 as Careers reporter, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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