There are multiple steps you can take to ensure a successful career change.

How to Transition Into a New CareerOn average, people currently approaching retirement age held nearly 12 different jobs before they turned 50.* While some switched jobs within the same industry, many others switched careers. It’s part of the modern employment experience and it’s unlikely to change anytime soon. Which means, if you’re thinking about a career change, you’re not alone. But thinking about a change and completing a successful transition are two different things.

Here are some steps you can take to help your career transition go well.

Make Sure Your Career Change Makes Sense

Being unsatisfied with your current career doesn’t mean you’ll be any more satisfied with your next one. Before you make a move, you need to fully research the new career you’re considering and think deeply about whether or not it will fulfill you. Some good questions to ask yourself include:

  • Does this new career align with my passions?
  • Do I have the natural talents necessary to be successful in this career?
  • What role do I see myself playing in this field?
  • Will this career offer me enough opportunity to advance and/or grow?
  • What are my long-term goals in life and does this career offer a path to fulfilling them?
  • Can this career be a lifelong career?
  • Does the work schedule for this career fit the schedule I want for my life?
  • What are the drawbacks of this career and can I handle them?
  • What will I have to give up to transition to this new career and is that worth it?

Tailor Your Résumé or CV

Your résumé or curriculum vitae (CV) is probably designed for the career you’re currently in. That needs to change if you want to change careers. To modify your résumé or CV successfully, you should think about where your educational and job experience intersect with the required skills for your new career. For example, if you want to change from a career as a lawyer to a career in advertising, you can highlight your extensive experience with making persuasive arguments, your ability to meet deadlines, and any experience you have leading teams/managing complex projects.

On the educational side, you should consider individual classes you took for your bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree program, and whether or not any of those classes tie into your new career. In many cases, the general classes you took as part of your postsecondary education can relate to a wide variety of careers. However, you may also want to earn a degree more closely associated with the new career you wish to pursue (more on that below).

Search Far and Wide

Finding a job in a new career field is likely to take some time. However, you can improve your chances of finding the position you want if you cast a wide net. Some of the best methods of finding a new job include:

Networking: Contact everyone you know in the career field you want to switch to and ask them if they know of any openings. Additionally, take advantage of your LinkedIn network to find connections with people in your preferred career.

Recruiters: Employment agencies, staffing firms, and headhunters can help you connect with employers who may be seeking your skills.

Professional Associations: Many professional associations offer job listings. You’ll likely have to join the association to have access.

Job Search Sites: There are a number of sites specializing in job postings. The best include Indeed, CareerBuilder, Glassdoor, and Monster.

Consider Earning a Degree or a Graduate Certificate

If you don’t have the requisite education or skills for the new career you want, higher education may offer a solution. Colleges and universities around the country offer a huge variety of college degrees and graduate certificates in all kinds of fields. Just make sure when you conduct a college search you only include schools with accreditation, as most employers only accept degrees from accredited universities.

Take Advantage of Online Education

Thanks to online universities, attending a good college and earning a degree is more convenient than ever before. That’s because you can take online courses from home instead of driving to a campus. Plus, online classes let you choose when in the day you attend class, making it possible to earn a degree online while you work full time. That’s a huge advantage if you need to stay in a current job while you gain the skills and credentials you need for your next one.

Any list of colleges you draw up should include accredited online colleges. With online learning, transitioning to a new career is a real possibility for working adults everywhere.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering graduate certificates, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.


*Bureau of Labor Statistics, Number of Jobs, Labor Market Experience, and Earnings Growth Among Americans at 50: Results From a Longitudinal Survey, U.S. Department of Labor, on the internet as a PDF at www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/nlsoy.pdf.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.

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