Developing a Career Change Plan

So you’ve finally decided to take that bold next step in your life and change careers. Congratulations! Changing can be challenging, but if you do your homework and set a proper plan in place to transition to your next career, it should go as smoothly as you allow it.

Changing careers is a bit different than simply changing jobs. For better or worse, changing jobs typically involves moving from one company to another, or from one department to another within a company, and still being in very similar types of work. Changing careers is shaking off that previous career and jumping at a whole new one.

Burning questions may be bubbling up inside you like “am I ready for this?” “Am I too old to change careers?” “What if I change careers and find out I don’t know what I’m doing?” These are normal questions one may ask themselves. The important piece of the puzzle in changing careers is the first step: create a plan

Your Career is a Journey

When I first had my aha moment regarding my career change, it was 2012. I had been in my industry for almost twenty years by this point. When I came to the conclusion that I wanted to switch careers, I knew it wasn’t going to happen overnight.

Planning was an integral part of my journey. I began to map out exactly what steps I needed to take to land the career that I wanted. Those steps included:

  • Going back to school and completing my Master’s program
  • Gaining experience in the career I wanted to move into so I was somewhat marketable
  • Financial planning as any step that I wanted to take toward my new career would probably require a financial step back, i.e. an initial decrease in salary  
  • Understand the time it may take to move into your new career once you have gained the necessary experience, education, or training, if applicable, and reviewed financial implications.

Columbia University also recommends consulting with industry resources in the field you are looking to move into, as well as to begin reviewing higher trends, top organizations, and recruitment cycle (Four Steps to Make a Career Change n.d.).  

Changing careers is not easy, but nothing worth pursuing usually is. You’ve taken the initial step by realizing a change is needed. The next step is taking action.


Four steps to make a career change. Four Steps to Make a Career Change | Columbia CCE. (n.d.). Retrieved from


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