Career Advice

Career With a Twist | Adapt Your Skills to a New Career

June 23, 2022

Your Career With A Twist…Adapt Your Skills to a New Career You are good at what you do, but it doesn’t bring you satisfaction any longer. You don’t feel prepared or, really have the desire, to start down a completely new career path. What can you do? Does this mean you are stuck? Definitely not. […]

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The Second Act Success Career Blog features articles to help inspire you as you navigate your career journey. Plus, you'll find show notes from podcast guests who have shared second act success stories. My hope is that these quick reads will offer advice and comfort knowing you are not alone on your path towards second act success. xo - Shannon


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Your Career With A Twist…Adapt Your Skills to a New Career

You are good at what you do, but it doesn’t bring you satisfaction any longer. You don’t feel prepared or, really have the desire, to start down a completely new career path. What can you do? Does this mean you are stuck? Definitely not. Refocusing your vision can enable you to adapt your skills to a new, yet related career. 

Over the past few podcasts, we have focused on people that have made dramatic career changes. People like Jamie Hanley who transitioned from cosmetics marketing to being a therapist. Ariel Belgrave, who switched from a Facebook HR exec to founding a fitness startup. Or Hannah Campbell-Anderson who started her career as an actress and has now become a highly successful wedding planner. 

These examples are inspirational and proof that you can reinvent yourself, no matter what stage of life you are in. If you are unhappy in your career, you can truly do something different. 

New Career, Same Skills

However, many people are not seeking such a significant change. They still want to utilize the skills they have developed. They love the industry they are in, just not what they are doing. This type of job change is incredibly common.

Here, the focus lies in revealing what appeals to you in your current industry and how can you retain that, while changing everything else. We see this all the time in show business. As actors gain experience in the business, many of them become more interested in working behind-the-scenes as producers or directors, rather than in front of the camera. 

Listen to Episode 11, as Jennifer McGill discusses her career trajectory. She launched her career in front of the camera, as a star of Disney’s All New Mickey Mouse Club. McGill knew she loved performing, but instead of focusing just on acting or singing, she settled on helping others in an artist development company. Jennifer utilizes her years of being on stage to help develop young performers, teaching them about TV culture, co-writing, how to talk with producers, and many other industry skills. 

McGill leveraged her years of knowledge and unique skill set to build a new career that gives her the best of both worlds. She is still deeply ingrained in the music industry, while not having to be in the spotlight. 

This type of change of focus can happen in any industry. The important part is discovering how you can adapt your skills to a new career, keeping the parts you love, while leaving behind what frustrates you. 


Finding Your New Career

So, how do you figure out what to do next? Where should you start? 

Examine Industry Partners

Take a close look at all of the companies that you work with. Suppliers, partners, vendors, consultants, continuing education providers, etc. All of them have at least some relation to your industry and what you do. 

Let’s take a hospital nurse as an example. Nurses looking to change job functions, but stay within a related industry can look at pharmaceutical companies, medical equipment manufacturers, assisted living facilities, teaching at universities or high schools, school nursing, medical law firms, travel nurses (private events, cruises, etc.), or insurance companies. There are countless opportunities to continue utilizing your nursing skills that are not within the bounds of a hospital or medical practice. 

Go Private

Well-established, highly skilled positions often translate well into private practice. Consider opening your own solo practice or small business. So many different professions can function as sole practitioners. Accountants can work with small business clients or individual tax help. Restaurant chefs can become private chefs or caterers. Marketers can freelance successfully. Project managers can consult on projects on a one-off basis. IT workers can offer computer repair, website development, consultants, app developers, networking expertise or any related field. 


Reach out to companies that you work with and talk about what your interests are and what you are looking to do. Oftentimes, businesses prefer to bring in skilled people that they already have a relationship with. If they are looking to expand or open new roles, they will keep you in mind for future positions or opportunities. 

You also have the advantage of having a solid feeling about them based on prior interactions. Unlike blind applications, you will already know the culture and style of the company. You will be more confident that they are a company fit what you are looking for in your next career. 

Think Outside the Box 

Not every career trajectory needs to be linear. Take the time to be creative and think about what would keep you excited and satisfied in a new career. 

  • Look at teaching positions 
  • Write for your industry’s trade magazine
  • Introduce your skills to children in a fun way (like Kayla Opperman whose career in engineering led to opening a Lego STEM school for children)
  • Bring your skills to an underserved or new geographic location
  • Go custom – offer your skills as a high-end, tailored solution for high-income customers
  • Go mass market – convert your bespoke skills into something simple and accessible to the masses

Finding new ways to apply your skills can revitalize any job. The most important things to keep in mind are to keep an open mind and focus on staying flexible. With these points in mind, you will have a better chance to adapt your skills to a new career, a career that fits who you were and who you are looking to be in the future.