Ten Guidelines of a Successful Career Transition

Below is a list of guidelines that can serve as a guide during the first phase of your career transition process. These guidelines should help you stay positive and not feel overwhelmed. 

  1. Speak Positively About Your Employer – Do not burn bridges! You will need to rely on your prior employer for references. Losing a job brings about hard times; you may feel hurt, angry, or slighted. Put your anger behind you so you can take advantage of the new opportunities ahead.
  2. Stay Calm – It is common to feel apprehensive, but there is no need to panic. The energy used in worrying can be put to better use if directed in a controlled and disciplined manner. If the feeling of panic is consuming you, and you have a hard time remaining calm, it may be worth seeking professional counseling.
  3. Don’t Lose Confidence – The education you received, the experience you gained up until now are yours to keep. These skills go with you to your next career.
  4. Acknowledge Your Feelings – Many people experience frustration, guilt, anger, self-doubt, fear, or rejection in the face of employment termination. These feelings are normal, but they also drain energy unnecessarily. Almost everyone in today’s volatile business world has faced or will face an unexpected job loss at some point during their careers. Keep your perspective, stay positive, and know that you will succeed. 
  5. Don’t Move Too Quickly…At First – “Knee jerk” reactions to a job loss within a day or two of separation do more harm than good and frequently interpreted by others as panic. Your best immediate strategy is to do nothing for at least forty-eight hours. You want to develop a plan of action and reach out from a position of strength, not of desperation.
  6. Advertise Yourself – Once you are in a position, begin to contact your friends and professional associates. Do not keep your job search a secret. You are marketing a very valuable product…yourself. All marketing campaigns seek exposure, and so should you. Let people know that you are seeking a new career opportunity. 
  7. Seek The Support Of Your Family – Members of your family will be your most valuable allies. They have a significant stake in what happens to you. Tell them first and reach out to them for support and encouragement throughout your search. 
  8. Seek Help – Pride gets in the way of good sense. You will need help not only from family, but also from friends, business associates, neighbors, and others. Ask for it! Keep in mind that you would help them; the shoe is just on the other foot right now. 
  9. Begin Your Job Search Immediately Upon Separation – Do not take a vacation or choose a slowed-down lifestyle. You have built momentum by going to work each day. Your current “full-time job” is to find a job. Losing momentum could set you back in your new effort.
  10. Analyze Your Finances – Develop a practical and “doable” budget around food, shelter, and job search – in that order and little else. Once you have provided the necessary budget for food and shelter, devote the remainder of your budget to your job search. An underfunded job search is no more likely to succeed than an underfunded business.