Effective Ways to Transition Careers Professionally

By Sam Ast, Re-Entry Workforce Development Specialist, Goodwill of Western Missouri & Eastern Kansas

Looking at the possibility of changing careers can be overwhelming. In this blog, we will cover the ins and outs of transitioning careers. If you’re interested in learning more about how to plan your next move and ways to make the most of your new position, keep reading.

Why Change Careers?

There are many reasons you might wish to switch careers. Perhaps you’re seeking a job with more flexible hours or the ability to work from home. Maybe you’re hoping for better pay, to relocate or for an opportunity to get away from a bad boss or coworkers who are impossible to work with.

Whatever the reason, one thing to keep in mind is that the decision is yours to make.

As an employee, you have rights and agency, which means that with a few exceptions, such as the military, most people are not required to stay at their current job for a set period. Better opportunities are often available, and the decision to seek these will always remain an option.

How to Make a Career Change

There are a variety of factors to keep in mind when contemplating a career change. First, there are different ways to create a new work experience. If you’re already working, there may be opportunities to move within your current organization. If you’re out of a job, re-entering the workforce is a big move in and of itself. Additionally, there are most likely other career fields, industries or companies you could jump to — that is, you should consider applying for positions offered by different employers entirely. All are valid moves, but it is important that any change in employment moves you in an upward trajectory that offers you various benefits as a result.

For instance, don’t quit your job without a clear alternative in place. Do some research and be strategic during this process. Use all the resources available to you, including your professional networking contacts, and do not forget to check if Goodwill has a local workforce development center to use as a resource to explore new work opportunities that make sense for your personal goals and interests.

Before leaving your current job, make sure to give notice to your supervisors. Commonly, employers will appreciate at least two weeks’ notice before you depart.

Don’t forget to update your résumé so that information is current, especially your contact information. Also, seek out individuals who would be happy to provide you with a positive recommendation for future professional opportunities down the road.

Embrace Your New Career

Once hired, hit the ground running. Remember that transitioning to a new workplace is hard to do; don’t be overwhelmed by the desire to make new friends or to fit in right away — these things take time. Primarily, focus on the work. The best signal of your value will be your work product and what you offer to the company and culture.