How to Navigate a Career Change

Search with Ctrl + F Last updated: 2022-08-14

No matter where you are in your career, whether you’re just starting out or 20 years into the journey, it can be unsettling to change directions. With the ever-changing job market, there are lots of new opportunities that could be calling your name, especially with the rise of hybrid or remote work. Or maybe your job is completely remote at the moment, but you’re just itching to work in the office around your peers. With these tips below, you’ll be able to navigate your career change smoothly and successfully. 

Know It’s Okay to Outgrow Your Current Role

As the years have passed, you may find yourself looking for more out of your career. Maybe you’re not being challenged enough or the growth opportunities have become stagnant at your current company. Sometimes people realize they have different passions than they once had in their past role. Before making the big decision to change positions, discuss with your manager the other opportunities available to you within the company if you’d prefer to stay; but if not, then you know it’s time to move on. These are perfectly reasonable situations for wanting to leave your job and venture out into other career paths. If you find yourself feeling this way, don’t be afraid to lean on a mentor or another person in your network for some guidance for your next steps. It’s okay to not know exactly what industry you want to get into next, so take some time to decide and take some career aptitude tests if you’re struggling to figure out what’s the best fit for you. 

Determine Your Career Goals

Starting out on a new journey like this will definitely take some adjusting throughout the process, but don’t get discouraged. There are plenty of steps you can take to make it easier on yourself, but first stop and take a second to sit down and get organized by setting some career goals. Start by deciding on what the bigger picture looks like for you in terms of your ideal position. Then break that down into smaller goals you can achieve over the next few years that’ll serve as markers. These goals can be anything from speaking on your first client call, creating a brand new action plan for your team or mastering an office skill that’ll allow you to stand out amongst your coworkers. 

Make a Plan to Achieve Them

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed when looking at all the goals that you want to achieve, but making a set plan to accomplish them can lessen the stress on yourself. Determine what’s needed to make these goals happen. This could be learning a new skill or hiring a career coach to help you get focused, for example. Chip away at different aspects of your goals each day in order to make a bigger impact on your career later on. Set some time aside daily to watch sections of LinkedIn Learning courses or work on certification classes you’ll need for your dream job. Networking with people in industries you’re interested in is a great way to understand what’s needed to be successful within that space and will help you figure out which of your goals should be priorities. Also, meet with your career coach on a weekly basis to see what else you should be incorporating into your professional development to help you envision what’s next for you in your journey. 

Explore New Opportunities

Due to the pandemic, many jobs have turned remote over the past two years. While this has been optimal for a lot of people and families, others may need that in-office setting to thrive. If you find that your company doesn’t have any plans to transition to at least a hybrid model in the future, then start looking for companies in your industry that work in-person. Your job search could lead you to companies that aren’t in your current location, but  if you’re in the market for a change of scenery, take a chance on them. A new location could be just what you need for a fresh start.

Discuss this move with your family and if relocation is a possibility for your new career opportunity. Plan ahead by looking into the cost of living in your location, different housing options and current home loan rates to facilitate a more seamless transition. Depending on your new company, a relocation benefits package could cover your moving costs and costs associated with house-hunting. Check out homes that are in close proximity to your office to ease into the new commuting lifestyle you’ve had some time away from, and scope out some restaurants to spend your lunch break. Once you’re situated, reach out to other coworkers that work in-office to establish a bond and friendships outside of your occupation to make the transition easier on yourself. They could’ve been in your shoes once before and can give you some helpful advice on the adjustment period.