Are you burnt out from your current role? Craving something new? A lot of people are. Making a career pivot can be tough – even scary, especially if you have been at your current company for a while. You have made friends at your job, received promotions and have a pretty sweet benefits package. At the end of the day though, are you happy? Adults spend most of their waking life at work, so it is best to be happy with what you are doing.
Career pivots are more common than you think. Today, people on average change careers about 12 times in their lifetime. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2016, the average tenure at a company was 4.2 years. If a career pivot seems like something you are ready to do, here are some tips to get you going.
Where do you begin?
The first step is to evaluate your skill set. Search through job postings that interest you and look through the skills they require. Make connections from your current skill set to new roles. If you have a background in marketing, you can more easily take on an analytical role in marketing. Many analytical jobs desire previous industry knowledge, such as Mimecast, an email management platform company. They are seeking a Business Analyst that has a previous background with other marketing management softwares. They also prefer project management and salesforce experience – skill you may be able to bring to the table.
Once you have made connections to your skills, look for where your gaps are. Some of the most common analytical roles require experience in Excel and SQL. More advanced positions require analytical tools like R or Python. If you are missing these, consider skilling up before you leave your current role.
Network, network, network!
Networking is paramount in any job hunt. Do your research for local companies that are hiring for data roles. Check LinkedIn for connections at companies hiring. Ask your friends on Facebook if any of their companies are recruiting for data roles. Utilizing your connections is the best way to land your next role, especially in a career pivot. I was able to make a career pivot to my current role here at Level through a college friend.
Another way to network is to go to local events or meetups. There are lots of niche data groups that meet up regularly. Websites like Built-In Boston have a calendar of events from local startup companies and groups. Use these as opportunities to meet people, make connections and learn a few things too!
Your Data Portfolio
Think of a data portfolio as a supplement to your resume. You can build your experience while also producing a piece to present in your interviews. There are several excellent resources for building your data portfolio. Places like Kaggle or Amazon have free data that you can use to analyze and build up your analytical skills. Once you complete projects, you can put your results on a blog. Places like WordPress or Squarespace are great and free ways to start a blog.
Doing these small projects can help build an online presence for you as well. You can also upload your work, such as data visualizations to places such as Tableau’s Viz of the Day like our Level Alum, Paula Munoz. A digital portfolio of your work shows passion, drive, and skill – which a lot of employers seek.
If you can get all of these pieces in your toolbox, pivoting to a new career will be a synch. However, it is important to realize that a lot of this takes time. Acquiring skills, job searching, attending events, creating a portfolio – all of these are time-consuming. If you are ready to make a change in your life, why wait? Map out your directions and task yourself with one thing at a time, so it isn’t as overwhelming. The hardest part is starting.