How to Make a Successful Career Transition

Are you considering a career change? Unlike finding a new job, this might mean leaving an industry, as in shifting from journalism to wealth management, or moving to an entirely different position in your company, such as transferring from procurement to human resources. If career transition is on your horizon, following these steps will make the swap easier.


Why do you want to change careers? Are you looking for a different work environment or culture? Do you seek the potential for a higher salary and/or more upward mobility? Do you want fewer hours, remote or part-time work options? Do you prefer different types of customers or clients? Are you ready for a new challenge? Do you feel your best talents are not being used?

If so, designate time to reflect and decide what you really want. Reread old performance evaluations. Talk to your closest advisors. What do you complain about? What energizes you? When do you seem most satisfied? Consider the many reasons you believe change is necessary and what will make you happy.


Make a list of your strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes. How have you used your strengths in current or past jobs? What weaknesses have become apparent? What would make you get up each morning excited to go to work? What do you never want to do again? What areas do you lack in your desired field? You may be able to answer these and identify the perfect job. If not, consider using a formal assessment tool like the Strengths Assessment or the Meyers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Learn more about the former here or participate in the MBTI group assessment on September 18 by emailing


Investigate your options. Whether you know the job you want or are unsure, research is your best tool.  Check out job boards to learn about opportunities in that field, what skills are required and the salary ranges. Network with professionals and ask about the day-to-day work and future growth of positions that interest you. Utilize Pioneer Connect (DU’s networking platform) and LinkedIn to find people in your desired area and chat with them about their experiences.


If you are missing required skills, determine how to acquire them. Take classes or obtain certifications through DU’s Executive Education, Center for Professional Development or University College. Inquire at your local work force center. Use to take online classes.

Tell Your Story

Revise your resume to showcase transferable skills. Use the language of your desired position to describe your past accomplishments. Focus on the similarities between the two jobs. Explain why this transition is natural and a benefit to your future employer.

If you are embarking on or considering a career transition, join us on campus on August 29 for Career Transitions: a Roadmap for Success, part of the Alumni Professional Development Series. You will leave understanding the steps necessary to make a successful career transition.

By Cindy Hyman
Cindy Hyman Director of Alumni Career & Professional Development