Career pivot across functional domains is challenging but it may be possible. Some thoughts on how you can make it work for you.
Career pivot from one function to another.
We are limiting our discussion to inter functional career pivot. Many amongst us think of career pivot at some point in our careers. Some of us want to move from sales to training, some from HR to business operations, and some from one industry to another. The change is relatively easy when we decide and do it early in our career.
Career pivot to an absolutely new domain, by way of starting afresh may not be acceptable to most. It mean’s giving up on ones work experience and professional body of work.
Here are some thoughts on how to your affect the change – career pivot from one function to another.
If you are a mid-career professional, it can’t be with a new employer.
Any new employer won’t trust you for something that you have not done in the past. In case you want to switch across functional domains, do that with your existing employer. If your existing employer is too rigid and you don’t see an opportunity, try to land a job with an employer that is more people focused and allows such opportunities. Start-ups, in set up phase can be a good bet, but if you are already well paid, it may be a compromise as well as a risk.
Once you have an employer where it’s possible, be patient. It won’t happen in a day.
With an employer, first you have to do well in your existing work area and identify opportunities and possibilities of making a switch. It could be some time (a few years or more) before you get that opportunity. Develop good working relations with people in the system – including the function where you want to move. Also ensure that you have a good rapport with your boss, HOD’s etc., so that they can recommend the switch as a part of your development plan.
Good relationships at workplace are based on your personality as well as the quality of work that you deliver. Ensure that your delivery is super, and unquestionable.
Get some certifications and degree/diploma if that helps.
If the function where you want to switch needs some functional qualification or certifications, get those.
An MBA is packaged common sense with some limitations and boundaries, but it looks good on paper.
Get one, if you don’t have one and if it helps your employer decide. Get some thing else, if that helps.
Career pivot is easy when you have an employer that values people and is keen on providing developmental opportunities to the employees, including cross functional experience. It’s not normally possible in traditional businesses, that stick to a rule book. Also, transitions are easy when you are early on in your career.