Summer 2022

An illustration of career women climbing a zig-zag ladder with many platforms.

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How Do I Prepare for a Career Change?

Pivoting to a new job field is more common than you think.

Q. I enjoy my current job, but I’m thinking about changing fields. How do I prepare for a pivot to a different career? 

A. We all know the “climbing the career ladder” metaphor, but that’s not the typical path for most employees. Instead, many career journeys resemble a lattice, with a range of twists and turns along the way.

American workers hold an average of 12 jobs before age 54.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Switching careers is a major life change, especially if it involves relocating. Before you start doing the math for moving trucks or commute changes, check what’s in front of you. If there is an open position at your company, talk to your boss about the possibility of a transfer.

If you’ve decided to switch companies for your career change, do some research into industries, companies and roles. (Pro tip: Mention the positive qualities that drew you to the job in your cover letter.)

Comb through job listings to evaluate requirements for experience, education and skills. Review LinkedIn profiles of people in similar roles at your company or field of interests. What are their backgrounds? Where/what was their role prior to their current job? Explore training options and opportunities to gain experience.

Format your résumé to highlight your relevant and related skills and qualifications. Craft your application letter with clear indications of your interest and qualifications. Include recent contacts you’ve made with the organization. 

Alumni at any career stage can contact the Center for Career & Professional Development for

  • Career and personality assessments
  • Résumé/cover letter reviews
  • Practice interviews
  • Job search and networking strategies
  • LinkedIn profile reviews and personal brand advice
  • Personal statement reviews
  • Job offer evaluation

Comment below with your career questions or email

Mike Caldwell is the executive director of TCU’s Center for Career & Professional Development. For more information about careers, visit