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Feeling stuck? Ready for something more?

My 4Ps to Pivot framework to change careers

Published about 1 month ago • 7 min read

Finding a new job in this market is no joke.

What worked in the past isn’t enough anymore.

You need a new strategy, especially if you’re making a career change.

Whether you are actively job searching or starting soon, you’ll want to read this one all the way through.

When I decided to stop climbing the career ladder in consulting and instead jump lily pads toward work that gave me energy, I had no framework to approach the transition.

I wish someone had grabbed me, looked deep into my eyes, and told me right then:

Any pivot is possible with the right Purpose, Positioning, Pathway, and Preparation.

I’ve developed my signature 4Ps to Pivot framework to handle any career transition (regardless of the degree of pivot).

I learned this the hard way through trial and error as I pivoted from consulting into early stage startups.

I didn’t turn it into a framework until after advising 100+ hiring teams, building ATS and sourcing products, interviewing hundreds of candidates, crafting my own personal brand, AND coaching clients through their career transitions.

Use it to collapse time in your job search.

1. Purpose: Unlock clarity on your career vision

Before you can evaluate opportunities, you must define your purpose. If your goal is to intentionally pivot toward building a career you love, it’s best to think about your work in the context of your life.

Get to know yourself. Evaluate the activities and environments that give you energy, your interests, your skills and strengths, and your values. Use this to craft your career vision — then, zero in on how your next role can help get you there.

Get clear on the parameters for your next role and your objective for this job search.

Choose your target role and industry or sector. Distinguish must-have vs. nice-to-have elements across work environment, compensation, and location. Use this as a filter for every opportunity.

In my own reflections, I confirmed I wanted to be an entrepreneur one day. I thought about the next move as a step that would get me closer there. I set a near-term objective: join an early-stage startup to learn what it takes to be a founder.

Once you have clarity on your target — commit to it. When you have a strong enough why, you will figure out the how. You don’t have to know how it will happen, you do need to go all-in. The next steps won’t work if you waver.

I was scared to commit to early-stage startups for a few months because I was nervous it wouldn’t work out for me.

Everything changed once I stopped entertaining jobs I didn’t want and got focused. It still took some iteration to figure out my target role family and sector interests, but I was committed to exploring this new direction.

Assume your pivot is possible until proven otherwise.

2. Positioning: Craft a compelling brand and story

Your personal brand and career transition story must position you as the best possible candidate for your target role. This goes far beyond your resume, especially if you’re transitioning in any way.

Lead with value and results in your resume and LinkedIn profile. Provide context for the scope of your role within the organization — what you drove, led, or grew. Quantify as often as possible.

Ensure your LinkedIn profile highlights your unique value proposition. Tap into the unique combination of skills, experience, and interests you bring to the table. This becomes easier when you’ve done the self-reflection steps to know yourself and choose target roles that are fully aligned.

Answer the question: “What do you want to be known for?”

If you’re not sure, think through a value proposition statement such as:

“I help [who you help] with [what you do] by [how you do it].”

Craft a hero’s career transition story that connects where you are today, the skills and experiences you bring with you, and what you’re looking for next.

I practiced my elevator pitch story in every coffee chat and interview until I dialed in on what I wanted and how to position myself. It was an iterative process.

The biggest mistake candidates make: telling their whole story in chronological order.

Bringing up irrelevant information only clouds your story and dilutes your value proposition. Instead, pull out only experiences that demonstrate your skills and expertise that are relevant to the role.

Lead with your value proposition. Choose 3 core skill areas to demonstrate and share examples to back it up. End with what you’re looking for next and how this specific opportunity lines up.

The only way to improve your story or brand is to complete a draft, get feedback, and iterate. Done is better than perfect every time.

3. Pathway: Run a stand-out strategy

A career pivot is non-linear by default.

The most effective job search strategy has never been to apply online in a sea of applications — but especially not in 2024. The combination of tech layoffs and AI tools has led to an overwhelm of candidates that look exactly the same on paper. Hiring managers are desperate for top candidates to stand out.

It doesn’t make much sense to spend time reflecting on what you want in your career and creating a compelling brand and story just to hope someone chooses your name out of a pile, does it?

Networking and referrals have always been the best way to land a job, but relationships are more important now than ever.

Your strategy is this: find the right pathway.

Do this through strategic networking, building your online presence, and leading with value in every interaction.

When you reach out to decision-makers, share value deliverables that show you have the expertise they’re hiring for. Try using Loom videos to stand out in introductory emails. Don’t be afraid to follow up.

Need access to more opportunities? Join a community dedicated to your target role or sector. These are the best places to convert cold connections to warmer ones and uncover companies you may not have known about.

During my pivot, everything shifted when I joined a community specific to startup job seekers. I not only got a ton of feedback on my transition story, but I gained access to a network that was more than willing to help.

I got warm introductions directly to hiring teams and gained the confidence to reach out to others. I created Notion docs or pitch decks with ideas based on the job description as a way to stand out.

4. Preparation: Master the art of interviewing

Luck results when preparation meets opportunity.

Preparation differentiates well-qualified candidates from elite job seekers who convert interviews into offers.

These are my 7 core elements of interview preparation:

1) Research the company. Understand their mission, values, products, business model, and customers. Use the product if you can.

2) Study the role and skills needed. Think through the problems you’d face. Show up with ideas on how to solve them — a deck or Notion page can help articulate your ideas.

3) Prepare thoughtful questions. Prepare questions about the company, role, and team you can’t answer through research. Tailor questions to your interviewer.

4) Know your why. Ensure you can answer “Why this role/company?” based on how the job lines up with your goals.

5) Personalize your introduction. Tailor your “Tell Me About Yourself” elevator pitch to end with why this role/company. Record yourself practicing it out loud.

6) Refresh your career stories. Review your 5-8 “tell me about a time” stories. Demonstrate key skills, company values, and handling issues at work.

7) Set up a pre-interview routine. Get your energy up. Play a favorite pump-up song, power pose, detach from everything else, get focused… and release the outcome. Your energy matters!

After interviewing with 30+ companies and spending hours preparing, I was still getting rejected in the final rounds. One piece of feedback changed everything: “You sounded too rehearsed. You weren’t as creative as we expected in some of your responses.”

When I released the pressure to interview perfectly, everything changed. I landed 4 offers over the next 4 weeks. Prepare like a champion, but don’t lose your personality in the process!

Bonus tip: After the interview, attach a Loom video in your thank you email to stand out.

5. Perseverance: Persist when you feel like giving up

A career pivot is always challenging. There are times when you want to take the easier path… a role that’s similar to your past, one that feels safe but you know deep down is settling.

You must avoid shiny objects in order to make the change you deeply desire.

Go back to the commitment you made to pivot toward work that’s more aligned. Find support and accountability from those you trust.

View rejection as redirection — the hiring process is more about selection than rejection anyway.

Community support was a game-changer for me. I got the encouragement, feedback, and accountability needed to stay on course.

My job search actually sped up when I got more targeted — and focused on celebrating wins and having fun along the way rather than waiting for the final job offer to feel proud of myself.

After a long journey, I successfully made the pivot from consulting to startups. I joined Dover, a recruiting tech company because I care a lot about making recruiting better.

Joining a series A company was the perfect stepping stone to entrepreneurship for me. 2 years later, I started my coaching business to help mid-career professionals get clarity and pivot to more energizing work with confidence.

Now that I’ve learned more about recruiting, resilience, and change — and coached others through it — I know this:

Any pivot is possible with the right Purpose, Positioning, Pathway, Preparation… and a healthy dose of Perseverance.

If this was helpful, share with a friend who’s job hunting right now!

And if a friend forwarded you this, consider subscribing for more career transition advice: join us.

P.S. Whenever you’re ready, there are 3 ways I can support you:

1) [Limited Time Only] If you’re looking for clear direction and want to get FIRED UP about your career again, grab the limited time replay of Career Clarity Launchpad. In 60 min, you'll learn how to get career clarity & immediate action steps to unlock more income, impact, and energy. It expires Sunday 6/23 since there's a special time-sensitive opportunity inside 👀. Grab it here.

2) 1:1 Career Coaching. High achievers who've lost their spark work with me to uncover work that lights them up & navigate big transitions with confidence. Unlock clarity on your path, a compelling personal brand, and a clear roadmap to attract aligned opportunities. If you're craving direction, accountability, and allll the good energy, grab a free Career Strategy Call.

3) Follow me on LinkedIn for daily advice on building your career and life on purpose ✨

Feeling stuck? Ready for something more?

I'm Katy Culver, founder, coach, and startup operator.

I help growth-minded professionals get clarity and pivot to work they love. Join my newsletter to build your career by design and navigate transitions with confidence. Expect big ideas, tactical strategies, and seriously good vibes. You in?

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