Whether you want to try something new or developed a passion in a different area than your current career, you may be wondering to yourself, “How do others make this leap?” It’s easy to get frustrated after you receive several letters from companies informing you that another candidate was selected because they had more experience.

Putting in your general application is great if you already hold the same title or similar title to what you are applying for or want new challenges within a similar role. Online applications don’t work for transition into a new role or industry because you don’t get a chance to explain yourself.


Decide what you want to be known for. Find people who are considered thought leaders, influencers, or someone with the same position you are looking for. Discover what they do to really stand out and use that to assess and build your own person brand.

Use Social Media. Take a close look at what you are putting out in social media. Clean things up and then go back to deciding what you want to be known for. Start curating posts and content around your passion topics. Make what others say validate your true interests in securing a specific role with a company.

Network with future colleagues. Look around to find people who could be your potential future coworkers. Where do they hang out? Take a look at professional associations and upcoming events. When you do attend these, make meaningful connections.

Create an online portfolio. This not only allows you to stand out from the crowd, but it also gives a way to be found. Give tangible examples of your work and provide information on what you are passionate about.

Certification and online courses. Take your passion a step further, this shows you’re serious. You don’t necessarily need a new degree to make a transition unless it requires a specific level or type of education. Many employers are willing to train the right person, but they need to know you have the basic foundation and the willingness to learn. Learning the language of the new role helps you articulate how your background transfers to it.

Offer to help. While networking, find out how you can help others with your desired position. You can use your help and effort to gain knowledge about the area you want to tap into. The secret is to give more in order to receive more. Or maybe you can volunteer at a non-profit while you are learning your new skills. They will likely welcome the extra help!

Making a career transition is a process. It will not happen overnight, but as you build the foundation with these suggestions, you will be equipped to connect with the right people to lead you to the right opportunity.

In the past, a career was static, and it was a stable part of your identity.  But times have changed and if is more like this:

“Hi, I’m Molly and I have an undergrad in political science, worked at a tech start up for a couple years, quit to pursue art full-time, and then went into consulting to pay the bills.”

If this sounds familiar, it’s no wonder why you feel confused and you could be experiencing a career identity crisis. Even if you undergo only one or two major career shifts in your lifetime, those shifts can hit you hard. 

Our work doesn’t just feel like something we do; it feels like something we are. This can be healthy or unhealthy depending on your relationship to your career, but the point is that a change in your career signals a change in you. And when that change is uncomfortable, you feel uncomfortable.

When you want to leave an old career for a new career, the question is not just, “How will I do something new?” You also wrestle with, “How will I be someone new?”

Career transitions are the new normal and to be expected.  Careers today are fluid, so it is important to learn how to go with the flow.  Here are some tips to help: 

Schedule a Social Life

While it may be tempting to isolate yourself when you feel like you don’t have it together, it’s important that you have somewhere to be and people to interact with, especially if you’re in a situation where you suddenly have lots of downtime.

Give Yourself Permission to be “In-Between”

You won’t be here forever, so for awhile it’s ok to be uncertain.  For now, you get to not know everything. And don’t worry – you will sort things out and recover. 

Write About Who You Are

This can be list form, stories, notes about your past, or what you’re doing now.  Reconnect to who you are.  You ARE more than your career. Remember who you are—just you, without work defining you. 

Do Things That Make You Feel Like Somebody

It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself when you are in the middle of a career crisis.  To counteract that, you need to do things that make you feel capable.  Maybe it is creating art, helping a friend, rearranging your house, or spending time with your nephew. 

Directly Address Career Issues

Oftentimes when something is off in our careers, we feel that we have no control over it.  So, instead of addressing our careers head on, we tinker with other areas of our life.  We start a creative project, invest more in our social lives, or endeavor to do more self-care.  While these can improve the quality of life, they don’t solve the core problem. Take direct action to resolve the conflict in your career, and you’ll feel powerful and more like you.