1. Career Advice
  2. Career Change
  3. Thinking about a career transition? Here's what to keep in mind!
Thinking about a career transition? Here's what to keep in mind!

Thinking about a career transition? Here's what to keep in mind!

Artwork by: Anastasia Kraynyuk

  • 1. Assess your current job
  • 2. Consider your ideal career
  • 3. Research new careers
  • 4. Create a plan
  • 5. Learn new skills
  • 6. Commit to your plan
  • Key takeaways

Making a career change can be equal parts exciting and terrifying. Whatever emotions you’re feeling, there are some steps you can take to make the change smoothly. Discover some career transition tips to land your dream job.

Do you want to make a career change but aren’t sure where to begin or if it’s even possible? No matter what career stage you’re in, you have the power to make a career transition successfully. All it takes is some self-reflection, planning, and dedication to your goals. If you want to make a change, you can follow some career transition tips to get to where you want to be.

In this guide, we’ll go over exactly how to make a career transition successfully, including:

  • The top tips and strategies you need to know

  • How you can determine your ideal career path

  • Ways you can learn skills and market yourself in a new field

Statistical Insight

Over half of employees want new jobs

Career changes are more common than they once were. Recent Gallup research shows over half (51 percent) of employees are seeking new jobs, both actively and passively. Among those surveyed, the top motivations for making a career change include increased pay, improved well-being, and growth opportunities.

1. Assess your current job

Before jumping into a career change, take some time to assess your current role. Think about what’s prompting you to make a change. At the same time, consider aspects of your job you like or enjoy, such as a high salary or the company culture. This assessment can help you determine what you want your next step to be.

Use questions like these to guide your self-reflection:

  • How satisfied are you in your current role?

  • Are you frustrated by a lack of growth opportunities?

  • Do your values align with your current company and your job?

  • Why are you considering a change? Do you want new challenges, more money, or the chance to follow your passions?

Take the time to think about these questions and answer them honestly. Be specific and highlight the positives and negatives of your current career path. If the negative aspects far outweigh the positives, it’s probably time for a change.

2. Consider your ideal career

Once you know you want a change, think about your dream job. As an exercise, imagine what your ideal day at work might look like. What would you do? Who would you work with? What type of environment would you work in?

As you consider your ideal career, start to think about jobs that align with your goals and motivations. Be realistic and consider factors like salary, job availability, and location. Here are some questions to ask as you ponder the logistical details of a career transition:

  • What kind of company would you like to work for in terms of size, culture, values, and products or services?

  • What types of tasks, projects, and initiatives do you want to complete?

  • How much flexibility and work-life balance do you want?

  • What opportunities for career advancement do you want to have?  

  • How would this career support your lifestyle?

  • Do you have transferable skills for this new career?

  • What are your salary goals?

3. Research new careers

With your goals and job description outlined, you can move on to finding a career that meets your expectations. Based on your answers to the above questions, choose a few potential jobs that are a good match for your interests and ideal career path.

Research those careers and determine if they can meet your financial and future growth needs. Use online resources, like Career.io’s Explore Careers tool, to learn more about your chosen field or position. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also provides good information on various industries and jobs.

As you research, think about whether you know anyone currently working in your desired field. Use your connections and attend some networking events related to that industry or job. Get as much information as you can from people who actually work in those jobs to learn whether your dreams match their realities.

4. Create a plan

All the information you’ve gathered to this point can help you develop a plan for your career transition. Set clear steps for your career development. Determine your ideal timeline for moving into a new career and create benchmarks for your goals. As you create a plan, think about these factors:

  • The target date for your career transition

  • Training, certifications, licensing, or degree programs you need to complete

  • Scheduling changes you need to make to accommodate your career transition efforts

For example, if you want to become a real estate agent, determine when you will take the licensing course and how long you will study for the exam. Set realistic benchmarks based on your current job and other obligations. You’ll then have a better idea of when you can plan to transition fully into your new career.

5. Learn new skills

Chances are, you will need to develop different skills or build on existing ones to succeed in a new career. In some cases, the essential skills for your new career may require you to complete formal training or education. However, you can learn new skills in other ways, too.

For example, if you want to make the transition from an office manager to a social media specialist, you can find ways to build your skills. You may complete an online course, attend a few industry events, or earn a certification in social media management. Additionally, you might ask your current employer if you can help with managing the company’s social media accounts.

As you work to develop new skills, don’t forget about the transferable skills you can take with you into your next role. Soft skills, such as communication, organization, and leadership, can often help you get your first entry-level job in a new field.

6. Commit to your plan

At some point, it’s time to take the leap. Follow these tips to transition to your new career seamlessly:

  • Commit to your plan. Any career transition requires dedication and hard work. Stick to your schedule and allot time each week (or even each day) to work on your career transition.

  • Adjust to changes. It’s fine to change your plan if you need to accommodate unexpected road bumps or challenges. Continue to set realistic goals and document your progress to stay focused on your goals.

  • Update your application materials. Before you apply for jobs, create a targeted resume for your new field. Include the skills, certifications, training, or education you’ve gained. Update your professional networking profiles, such as LinkedIn, with your new career goals. 

  • Search for jobs. Start looking for jobs in your desired role or industry. In your cover letters and job interviews, market yourself as a competent professional who’s eager to learn and grow in a new area.

A career transition takes time. The bigger the change, the longer it may take. Don’t get impatient or overwhelmed. Trust that all your planning and preparation will pay off. Most importantly, don’t forget to celebrate your hard work and dedication once you successfully land your dream job.

Do you want a clear path for your career transition? Use Career.io’s Career Pathways tool to explore careers, identify required skills, and plan for your future success!

Key takeaways

  1. It’s possible to make a change no matter where you’re currently at in your career path.

  2. Assess your current situation and consider your ideal career before you start making a plan.

  3. Research career options and determine the skills, education, or training you need to make a change.

  4. Commit to your plan and build in time to adjust for challenges or roadblocks you may encounter.

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