How to Navigate a Career Change

by | Nov 16, 2021

Career changes are common in the modern era. On average, people change jobs 12 times in their lives. Career changes happen for many reasons: Maybe you feel like you’ve exhausted your growth potential at a job, want to improve your financial situation, or you just feel it is time to work in a different sector.


No matter the reason, a career change can be an uncertain time. Take the following steps to ease the stress that comes with a career transition.



Determine Your Priorities and Set Goals


Before starting a new job search, you have to figure out precisely what to search for. Maybe you already know just what you want out of a new career. If not, you should re-evaluate your work history, use failure as a stepping stone, and volunteer in new fields.




Re-evaluate your past jobs


Consider your previous jobs to see what aspects of the roles you valued and what made you want to leave them behind. Tailor your job search to include opportunities for growth in the fields you enjoyed in your previous work environments. 




Failure is not bad


A career change is full of unknowns, and all stages of it can result in obstacles or failures. Do not be discouraged by a weak job market or a failed volunteering effort. Every failure helps you refine what you are looking for in your next career. 




Try new things


If you are unsure about which career path to transition into, start exploring new fields by volunteering. There is no long-term commitment, so you can get your feet wet before settling into a full-time position. 



Update Your Application Materials


Your resume, cover letters, and LinkedIn profile should be up-to-date if you want your career pivot to go as smoothly as possible. Consider implementing these changes in your resume:




Use a combination format


A combination format lists your achievements and skills before listing your work experience in chronological order. This emphasizes your skill set and what attributes you bring to the table. Your past jobs or careers may not align with the new job you want, so it is beneficial to put the focus on your transferable skills. 




Write a resume objective


A resume objective, located beneath your contact information, quickly summarizes your skills and experiences in relation to a new job. Hiring managers have to read through hundreds of applications, so a resume objective makes your intentions clear from the beginning. 




Include work and extracurricular projects 


If you have worked on projects that showcase relevant skills, then include these endeavors in your resume. This is a concrete way of showing how your experiences have given you transferable skills for your new career. 


Include the name of the project, your role, and the date. Then describe the project in a sentence and list the skills you used to see it through to completion. 




Tailor Cover Letters and Your LinkedIn Profile


It takes ambition to change careers, so let that determination show in your cover letter. Note your motivation for changing careers so that employers know you are doing this for positive reasons, such as pursuing your passion or learning a new skill. Then explain how your transferable skills make you a good fit for the job.


Match your Linkedin profile and your cover letter’s tone to the culture of the new industry. When you tailor your application materials to the job, you reduce the chance that hiring managers will see you as an outsider to the profession.



A Fresh Start 


Starting a new career can mean lower pay, fewer responsibilities, and a new learning curve with different skills to master. If you expect this, the valleys will be manageable, and the peaks will be more satisfying. A new career is not going to be easy, but it will be worth it.


Find your new dream job with the easy-to-use job search tool on Use our resources to prepare for this transition with interview tips, guides on tailoring your resume, and more job search advice.