Thinking about a career transition? You are not alone. The average professional will make 5-7 career transitions in their lifetime.  Whether this is transitioning from one job to another in the same field, or making a complete shift in specialty, know there are resources available to assist you along the way. 

It may not be easy coming to terms with fact that what you are doing today is not leading you to where you hoped to be.  But, the great thing is the skills you have garnished up to this point are not for naught.  In fact, you may find these experiences are actually leading you onto your next path. While the transition may not be quick, there are several things you can do to make the road a little smoother.

  1. Think it through. Any transition is hard, and one should be as prepared as possible.  There will be changes. Hours, pay, benefits, time off, co-workers, etc…  Make sure that you are not only ready to accept these changes, but excited about them.  This may be a step closer to what you want to do instead of what you need to do, but it also may come with sacrifice.
  2. Research, Research, Research. Make sure you are making an informed decision about these next steps and that this transition will be one that you feel you can sustain.  There are times where the grass may seem greener, but when you cross the tracks, the result was not what you expected.  Spend some time researching the career, day to day structure, the organization, and long-term growth strategies. Use tools such as O*Net to find out more about skills sets, Glassdoor to review about what others are saying about the company, interview process, and salary, and make sure you use LinkedIn to connect for an informational interview with someone in that role and/or company to ensure you understand details and culture fit.
  3. Brand Yourself. The hardest part about making a career transition is selling yourself for a role that you have not done before. Think about your transferrable skills.  What have you done in your past that relates most to what you are looking to do? What soft and hard skills do you possess for this position? What would make you great in this role?  Now, let’s take those things and build a resume that brands you in this new role.  These transferrable skills must be highlighted and visible to the average resume reader. As such, developing keyword sections, moving duty bullet points, and creating a professional summary are all great resume tactics.  Make an appointment with a career coach to assist you with this process.
  4. Believe It.  If you build it, they will come! At least that is the hope.  Overcoming the self-doubt and negative talk is 90% of the transition. You are used to being successful in your current role, so making a transition may come with a lot of newly forged anxiety.  Believe in your talents, know how they transition to your know career, and if you have to, fake it until you make it!

There is not a defined pathway for career transitions, but being prepared, doing your research, and knowing your skills are more than half the battle.  Also know that most professionals make transition several times throughout life, so do not be afraid to ask for advice for someone that has gone down the same pathway. 


  • O*NET OnLine has detailed descriptions about career interests, values, pathways, growth, wages and more!
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook allows you to search occupations, pay scales, education, and interests.