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Ask the Career Coach: 5 Steps to Making a Job Transition


Tue Sep 10 2013

Ask the Career Coach: 5 Steps to Making a Job Transition

Each month we’ll pose a career-related question to one of ASTD’s Career Center Coaches. This month’s coach is Barbara Seifert, Ph. D., CPC, who is president of Committed to Your Success Coaching & Consulting.

Q: I’m ready for a job change, but I’m not sure how to go about it successfully. What are my first steps?  


A: Making a job transition can be challenging and the “rules” have changed in the last few years for how to go about it successfully. It is imperative that you are strategic and focused in your search. Also, determining a time-frame to make a move will help you in that focus. 

Here are some steps to help you make a successful career transition: 

  1. Determine your reasons for transition. Are you bored with the tasks you do? Is it work-life balance, money, or work stress that is leading you to seek a new path? Determining your reasons for seeking change will help you develop the job target that will enable you to reach your goals. 

  2. Assess your skills. Employers are requiring high-skill levels, and workers need to hit the ground running. Review your skills, talents, capabilities, passions, values, and past experiences (quantifying them) as these are what you have to bring to a new job position. 

    Next, determine the type of work environment that will enable those skills and talents to thrive, and that works best with your personality. Finally, research the type of job and industry you are targeting with regards to salary, benefits, job duties, and requirements so you can match your skills with those needs.

  3. Focus your search. Now is the time to select the ideal job and/or organization you want to work for, along with your reasons for doing so. Pinpoint your skills and experience that match the desired job so you will be able to relate them to a perspective employer. This also is the step where you identify contacts or networking opportunities that can help you connect with hiring managers in your target organizations.

  4. Plan your move. You need to have a strategic plan, or road map, that shows you where you are going and how you will get there. You want to be very specific, including how you will spend your day in job-search mode. This lists all job-search strategies, such as making networking contacts, attending professional association meetings, applying for jobs, following-up on activities, and using social media.

  5. Watch your attitude. Being mentally prepared is also a big key in successfully making a job change, so be confident in your abilities. Use positive self-talk or affirmations to keep you focused on the results you want. 

Taking control of your career is within your power. It starts with a decision, assessing what you can bring to the table, focus, a plan, a positive attitude, and then massive action. All of these will lead you to making a successful transition.

If you have a question you’d like answered, please send it to [email protected].

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