What’s The Difference Between Career Change And Career Transition?

This article is authored by Jet Hayes and Raksha Yadalam.

When you’ve given a company or a profession multiple years of your life, whether 2 or 20, you might feel like you need a change. You may have reached your limits and may be looking to explore a new direction in your career. But is a career change right for you? Is it time for a career transition, or do you need a complete change of scenery?

“Sometimes some of my clients come to see me renting a laptop and saying that they need a new job and that they’re completely burned out. It turns out, however, that all they need is a new position. They get confused identifying their career issues,” says Karina Wolfin, CEO of Direct Appliance Rentals that offers gadget and laptop rentals for mid-life professionals and executives.

So when it comes to making a big change, it’s important to understand the difference between career change and career transition. 

What’s The Difference Between Career Change And Career Transition?

Career Transition

Career transition is moving from one job to another in the same industry or even within the same company. It’s a momentary change, involving new responsibilities and duties but will not be a huge shift in your career, like a career change. Career transition happens when you are unhappy with your current role at your current company, or when you’re looking for more to do with your current skill sets. In such situations, it may be a good option for you to take your skill sets elsewhere. 

Career Transitions are great opportunities to enhance your current skills, work with new people, with a new company culture that may meet your needs better.

You probably already have the skills needed, which makes attaining your objective simpler since you have a conceptual framework for the job, can research its objectives and contribute to company goals quicker. A career transition is more straightforward to accomplish than a career change.

Career Change

Career change is a more complex, time-consuming career move that may result in substantial income changes and changes to your professional status. Unlike career transition, it’s not about moving from one company to another, or even moving from one role to another. It’s taking an entirely new step forward in a new industry and market, requiring a separate set of skills that you may or may not have. 

A career change can be a great step forward if you’re feeling demotivated, have lost interest with your current duties or are looking to explore and try something new. It takes time and patience. You may have to accept lower level positions and start from scratch, but the excitement and experience of doing something new will help push you forward. 

As a result, career change should be undertaken after careful consideration of your current financial, professional and personal circumstances. 

Here’s an example of a career change 

Undertaking a change in career is much simpler if you take smaller steps, helping guide you from where you are to where you want to be. Here’s a case study to illustrate:

From Performer to Coach

Sam was a performer, working in theatre for many years. He was looking for a change and was interested in becoming a coach or trainer. However, he had no experience in coaching or human resources to do so. 

He started working in the industry, finding employment wherever he could with small roles and part-time jobs and slowly worked his way up to becoming a headhunter in Silicon Valley. He worked hard to build his expertise, often volunteering to go the extra mile, rewriting and updating instruction manuals at each firm that he worked at. Through this, he was able to build his knowledge, meet many influential people and build a strong network. 

Due to his headhunting expertise, he was able to transition into HR recruitment and training. He was aware of the inefficiencies and difficulties human resource teams faced when dealing with headhunters. His experiences gave him the knowledge and expertise to solve problems quickly and helped his company reach their goals faster. 

He was then offered the role of being the training director for an agency that provides quality staffing solutions and business support services to organizations. He brought significant recruiting experience to the context of corporate hiring, which is quite different from headhunting, despite never having engaged in it completely. Although not completely a career coach, as a training director he had multiple opportunities to train and motivate employees. He successfully changed his career, rising through the ranks, moving from theatre to coaching in just a few years. 

Career Change or Career Transition? — Whatever May It Be Start On A Solid Foot

In the end, it all boils down to being honest with yourself about what truly gives you satisfaction. Take a second and retrospect. Understand where you are and build goals to where you want to be. 

When you’re ready to make a move, remember to always start on a solid foot. Focus on upskilling, networking and try to push yourself out of your comfort zone. 

Career Money Life can help position yourself for success, no matter where the road leads. We can help employees explore unique pathways, identify personal strengths and weaknesses and help you find new roles and opportunities. Contact us to learn more.

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