Lorelei Yang
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Wonky consultant with a passion for words
  • Articulating one's reason for pursuing a career reinvention is one of the most important steps towards a successful career reboot.
  • Take time to inventory your skills and experiences, identify the right opportunities and map your skills and experiences to the new industry and jobs you're interested in.

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Just as it's never too late to learn something new, it's also never too late to reinvent your career. Regardless of the industry you're currently in or your age, it's always possible to pivot and reinvent your professional profile. This can allow you to reboot your career, find greater fulfillment in an industry that better suits your interests and passions, and find a job that allows you to grow in a new way.

What does it mean to reinvent your career?

In short, career reinvention is about resetting your career. Most often, this means moving into a new industry and finding a new career path.

People may pursue career reinvention for a number of reasons. Some common motivations are:

  • Getting into a more lucrative or stable industry (e.g., moving into technology due to the strong job growth in that industry)
  • Moving out of a "dying" industry (e.g., moving out of manufacturing in the U.S. in light of the industry's decline in many areas)
  • Pursuing one's passions (e.g., a lifelong film buff moving to a career in the arts)
  • Reconfiguring one's work life in order to accommodate the pursuit of one's passions (e.g., traveling the world)

Articulating one's reason for pursuing a career reinvention is one of the most important steps towards a successful career reboot. Knowing why you're seeking to reinvent your career is an important first step towards a successful reinvention.

How to reinvent your career

1. Reflect upon, and articulate, why you're changing your career.

As already alluded to above, being able to articulate the impetus for your career reinvention is essential to achieving it. Being able to tell a clear, coherent and compelling story about your decision to pursue a new career will be essential as you look for a new job in the area you're looking to move into, network with people in the industry, sort through opportunities to find the best ones for you, and more.

Before you dive into the tactical aspects of your career pivot, take the time to ask yourself why you want to pursue this change. Are you pursuing a lifelong interest that isn't being fulfilled by your current job? Are you looking to bring your experiences to date to a new industry and thereby do good in a new place? Or are you driven by something else entirely? Knowing the answer to this question can help guide not only your exploration of options for your pivot, but also help you better answer interviewers' questions about the motivation behind your career transition.

2. Take stock of your skills, competencies and experiences to date.

Even though you're looking to reinvent your career by pivoting, you aren't starting from scratch. You already have a wealth of experience, skills and competencies built up from your career thus far. Knowing your skillset and being able to demonstrate its value in a new industry will be essential as you seek opportunities to pivot your career. With this in mind, taking time to inventory your skills and experiences is an important part of successfully reinventing your career.

3. Identify the right opportunities.

Simply knowing the industry you want to be in isn't enough to reinvent your career. You also need to have a reasonably clear sense of the right types of opportunities to pursue in your industry (or potentially industries) of interest. Take some time early on in your career reboot to explore the industry you're interested in breaking into. In particular, take note of:

  • The skills that hiring managers in the industry look for
  • Any contacts you may already have in the industry who can provide guidance on how to get your foot in the door
  • Top companies in the field whose job postings you'd like to keep a close eye on

4. Map your skills and experiences to date to the new industry and jobs you're interested in.

Once you've mapped out your skills and experiences and identified the right opportunities for yourself, take some time to strategize upon the best way to present yourself as a strong candidate for the opportunities you'd like to apply for. 

A few variables you may want to consider are: 

  • Are there certain transferrable skills you can talk up or relevant experiences you can highlight? 
  • Are there people you know who can help make introductions to people at companies you're interested in? 
  • Are there certifications or training courses you can take to make yourself a more compelling candidate for specific opportunities?

5. Update your resume and online presence (particularly LinkedIn) to reflect your new focus.

Updating both your resume and professional online presence (particularly your LinkedIn profile) to reflect your new focus will help you be more successful in your career pivot. Highlighting the experiences, skills, and competencies you've identified as key to the industry you're looking to pivot into can help you be more successful as an applicant for jobs in that field.

6. Believe in yourself.

While it may sound trite to say so, mindset is important when you're looking to make a career pivot. Believing that you can achieve a successful career reboot is a major step toward achieving this goal. Remind yourself that you are capable, worthy, and deserving of the new career that you're seeking. This mindset can go a long way toward building up the confidence in yourself that you need to successfully manage a career transition.

Is it ever too late to change your career?

It is truly never too late to change your career. This is especially true today, as people are continuing to work into their sixties, seventies and sometimes even beyond. More importantly, however, someone contemplating a potential career pivot should think about it this way: is it ever too late in life to pursue the things that make you happy? As long as you believe that it's never too late to pursue joy and satisfaction in life, it's also never too late to pursue a career pivot that will make you happier and more fulfilled at work.

Lorelei Yang is a New York-based consultant and freelance writer/researcher. Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.