How to Make a Successful Career Pivot?

Changing your career once you’re already in an established field can be far from a straightforward journey. You will have to navigate through new challenges and unknown territories at each point. However, finding your real purpose at the end of all this can be worth the time and effort.

The German language has a particular word for these career changers —’Quereinsteigers’. While it can be challenging to find the exact English translation for the word, it loosely translates to ‘lateral entrant’. The meaning derives from the first part of the word ‘quer’ which means going against the grain.

The Associate Dean at the Berlin School of Business and Innovation (BSBI), Alexander Zeitelhack, has a similar definition. As quoted by, Alexander feels that the term Quereinsteigers defines all the people who want to break into a new job type or industry after many years of experience in a different field.

So how easy is it to change your career path? Read on to find out!

Why do people opt for a career pivot?

The top reasons people choose to move away from their established career paths include a lack of interest in their current profession, a desire to follow different passions, and the feeling of being burnt out in their current job. In fact, LinkedIn data shows that nearly 70% of its millennial users are unsatisfied with their jobs.

The survey revealed that only 12% of the participants claimed that they would miss their previous work if they started a new career path. This shows the wide acceptance of career pivoting amongst professionals. However, nearly 50% of the participants also confessed to not knowing how their career paths should look like.

Effective career pivot strategies

Irrespective of the reason, if you have decided to shift career paths, you might have to answer some valid questions—where should you start? How do you pivot your career? And how much time will it take to be established again?

The following advice for career changers can answer some of these questions and help make a successful career pivot.

Be clear about what you want to shift to

A lot of people jump on to the “follow-passion-and-everything-will-fall-into-place” bandwagon, but research says otherwise. The Cal Newport Report suggests that people leveraging their existing career skills have a higher probability of succeeding than people who choose to follow their passion.

Start by looking at the skills you have achieved in your current job and look for fields of interest where they can be useful. This will help you avoid starting from scratch and leverage the career capital you have already built.

Figure out what you need to make the shift

Making a great career choice and having some relevant skills are not enough for a career pivot. You also need to look at what else you will need to make it big in that domain. You might have to complete some certifications, get a license or even go back to school to get a relevant degree.

Whatever the case is, you should be willing to make that investment for your career pivot. You also need an action plan to take care of your financial obligations if you do have to go back to school.

Missing something in your work life but don’t know where to start with making a change? The wide range of career-oriented programmes at BSBI can help you.

BSBI understands the importance of education in a career pivot. That’s why it has a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees to help you succeed in your new career path. The courses are customised to provide you with industry-focused knowledge and career-specific skills.

Additionally, you also get to enhance your network in your field of interest through guest speaker sessions, exhibitions and industry visits.

Click here to discover the different programmes offered by BSBI.

These suggestions aside, you can also try to find relevant internships; these are a good entry point into a new career. You could also communicate directly with HR teams at prospective companies to find interview opportunities. Networking with people from your field of interest can also help you to build a professional network and gain support from relevant people.

There is no time like the present to pivot your career into a field of your interest. Competitive economies like Germany are becoming more and more aware of the benefits of hiring career changers.

In fact, the current German government is helmed by a famous quereinsteigerin, Angela Merkel. The German Chancellor was a research scientist before becoming a full-time politician. Led by her, the German government is taking active steps to destigmatise mid-career changes. This includes an official webpage on features, interviews and tips on changing career paths.


This article was written by Sweha Hazari.

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